Our Honeymoon

Since I'm in flashback mode, I thought I'd post a little about our honeymoon to Hawaii.

 Oh you probably think this picture was taken in Hawaii.  Nope, still in Newport.  Isn't it gorgeous?  But we wanted a little warmer.  :-)  So the day after our reception there, we hopped on a flight for the island of Oahu.

And since we had a bit of a wait in the Portland airport, we made friends.
 Our flight landed after the sun had already gone down.  Since traveling always makes me unbelievably drowsy, I was excited to get straight to our hotel.  But straight to our hotel turned into a snaking, round-about trek that lasted for two hours.  Note to self: only take the bus if you are certain you are within the first 40 stops.  After that, it's not worth it.  Walking would be faster.

We were literally the last stop on the bus.  Because it was dark we couldn't even enjoy the scenery.  My head kept bobbing as I forced my body to stay awake, which made my neck sore.  And to top it all off, the couple in front of us were from a country that apparently doesn't believe in deodorant. 

You'd think this would be a rough start to a honeymoon... but Roy and I were still so high off of our wedding weekend, it really didn't bother us so much.  As gooey as it sounds, we were just happy to be together.  Even if it was in a crowded, dark bus shrouded in weird smells.

Day 1:
Pearl Harbor
 As soon as we learned the Hawaiian tradition-- having a flower over your left ear symbolizing that you are "taken"-- Roy kept picking flowers off of the trees and sticking them in my hair. 
 Here we are, in the middle of the Pacific!  Yeah, I'm huge.
 One of Roy's favorite things about the whole trip was Pearl Harbor.  We read every sign and played with all of the toys, many of which were retirees of WWII.
 We took the boat out to the USS Arizona memorial, the final resting place for 1,177 men that were on the vessle when Japanese bombs sunk it in 1941.  It was sobering to look at the long list of names engraved on the marble inside.
 The memorial is built right across the center of the sunken ship.
 Interesting fact: It has been 70 years since the ship sank, and it's still leaking oil.  I guess 500,000 gallons takes a long time to seep out.  The guides were quick to reassure us that it isn't enough each day to do great harm to the environment, and it is worth leaving the ship and its sailors intact. 
 This part of the ship isn't visible like this from the memorial.  It is blocked by a wall, which I reached across and aimed my camera down.  Later I looked at what I had captured and chills gave me goosebumps.  It seems like the stairway down to the watery graves.  Into the depths where men had been sleeping, eating, reading when the bombs hit.  So unexpected and so terrible.
 So after a somewhat solemn morning, we spent the day exploring Honolulu.  It's definitely a crowded, polluted city, but it's got a unique vibe.  Half of the people you pass on the street are walking barefoot on the warm pavement and there's an ABCs on every corner selling chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.  Roy was obsessed with them the whole trip.

Day two: the Polynesian Cultural Center.

 Our boat had quite a few people on board.  This guy was trying to cruise past us, but he cruised into us.  The result was a big crack in our boat.  But the Polynesians know how to make a boat :-)  we didn't sink.
 The center has different areas of the park that represent different islands and different cultures. 
 I liked the New Zealanders!
 They gave me a free henna!
This is where we watched a river parade!
And this is the same river that I dropped Roy's cell into.
 Roy waited, laughed, bought some ice cream with fruit-- and all the while I was freaking out about his cell.  Maybe just to make me feel better, Roy got into the water (almost waist deep) and pulled out his phone.  And guess what... it still worked.
 Because the center is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it's no surprise that they take you on a quick tour to the BYU Hawaii grounds as well as the Laie Hawaii temple grounds.  It was a gorgeous place.

 It took me a while to perfect this shot and I really like it:
 Day three: Said goodbye to Oahu...

 And hello to the greatest island on the planet!  KUAI!!
 My post about Kuai alone will probably be pretty extensive, and I have loads of homework to do tonight.  So here's your cliffhanger...

Kicking Off 2011

New Years Eve rolled around and my hubby and I realized we had no plans.  What losers.

Originally we had planned to hang out with Roy's family but, sadly, they ended up having to leave for Oregon a little early.  Searching for a Plan B, we called around.  But only to find that most of our friends already had their own plans.  Imagine that!  Though we were invited to come along to a big party up in Salt Lake, Roy wasn't really feelin' it.  

So I gave up and bummed around the house thinking we were going to have a boring New Year: grab a book, settle in, expect to go to bed at ten.  And honestly, there have been very few New Year celebrations that I've actually enjoyed.  How anti-climatic is the ball drop?  Really?  Who cares?  It's not really a drop, it's a very slow, delicate setting down.  I can see how being there in person might be exciting, (not because of that pathetic ball but because of the atmosphere) but watching it on TV is even less exciting than watching golf on TV.  At least in golf the balls go flying through the air and sink into ponds and stuff.

Not that I don't like celebrating.  A lot of my New Year celebrations were with my family up at my grandparent's cabin in the White Mountains, AZ.  Nice and relaxing.  And snowy!  And once we had a big party at our house when I was around 13 or so.  I remember that being pretty awesome.  We all wore stupid hats and blew noise makers etc.  

Maybe the most memorable was the night I was drugged up and puffy-faced.  When Lynn came over and got me out of bed was probably the first time I was really completely conscious since I'd gone under to have my wisdom teeth removed.  She helped me outside and we banged pots and  pans together right when the clock struck twelve.  Good friend, huh?

But this year Roy had secret plans to make this New Years Eve the most fun ever!  After deciding that friends were all busy, he got on priceline and had me help him choose a fun hotel.  We chose Homestead, and got a one-night stay for next to nothing!  Roy was giddy as we were packing.  Literally couldn't stop smiling.  

Homestead is right next to Heber.  We had plans to meet up with my family at Daniel's Summit the next day for snowmobiling, so it actually made sense to spend the night up there.  And I knew it was the best idea ever as soon as we pulled up.  

The hotel was established in the 1880s!  It was originally just another Utah farm before the owners discovered a strange cave with bubbling warm water inside!  So it's been an attraction ever since.  Roy said he saw it on the Discovery Channel once!  In the old pictures they have it looks like people used to climb down inside from the top.  Now they've blown a big hole in it for easy access.  And you can swim in it!

Obviously, I was really into the history of the place.  They had built onto it since the 1880s and added indoor pools and other things.  But it still felt homey and antiquey.  There was snowshoeing and sleigh rides and all kids of cool things.  

We explored around the place for a while and then went swimming.  We wanted to swim in the hot spring, but it was booked for the night.  Too bad we didn't have time to make reservations.  But we went in and saw it both at night and in the daylight.  Visibility was about the same both times.  

 We saw a couple of little girls (maybe 3 and 5) getting ready to go swimming with their parents.  The younger one was flat-out terrified!  And I didn't blame her!!!  At that age I'm sure I would have been scared of the fact that you couldn't see how big the place is because everything was enveloped in eerie fog.  Not to mention the pool is hundreds of feet deep with murky water.  Poor girl.  But since we're not three, we really wanted to get in.  We were ready to take a dip until we learned you had to schedule.

 We went out to explore the town, which they have decorated as though in the Alps.  Really cute.  We found a little restaurant where everything was homemade as soon as you ordered it.  Best baked beans I've ever had in my life!

Then we followed signs to the Homestead cemetery.  I know, I like weird things.  Luckily Roy puts up with it.  As we drove into the middle of nowhere the temperature steadily dropped.  The houses with Christmas lights thinned out.  We rounded the final corner and found ourselves at the base of a hill.  But we couldn't see up the hill because it was completely smothered in thick white fog.  But what we could see was an abandoned shack beneath a large, twisted tree just beside us.  It was a picture straight out of a horror movie.  Roy laughed at how it all made me squirm.  Especially the part where I wasn't sure we could make it up the hill with all the ice.

But we did!  And I even got out and walked around a little bit.  The cemetery was completely, eerily quiet.  But so pretty blanketed in fluffy, untouched snow.  I took pictures, but none of them really did justice to the moment.  So I'm not posting any.

Walking around outside that night was almost painful.  It was -15 degrees outside!  But that kind of chill does crazy things.  Later when we were back at the resort I took a picture of this store window because I thought the ice crystals forming on it were beautiful/interesting.

We also saw some of the biggest icicles in the world!  I'd say that thing was almost 10 feet!  Can you imagine trying to walk in that door right as the icicle breaks off?  

Lots of snow!

Oh and the town had a few ice castles that were hard to take pictures of but were so cool!

Looks cold, huh?  
Thanks Roy, for the best spontaneous new year trip ever!!!!!!

The first day of 2011 we met up with my family, like I said.  Mom was reluctant to go snowmobiling, to say the least.  But she was bundled up for sure!
She reminded me of the little brother on A Christmas Story, so that's who she's impersonating there.  Pretty hilarious.  But we were all pretty bundled up!
 Roy was a little better equipped than I was.  I'm not all that good with snow.  I know how to deal with it snowboarding--and in snowboarding you're working out which keeps you warm.  Not so with snowmobiling!  By the end of the day I was wearing half of Roy's things, haha!  Thanks Roy!
 Roy only got us stuck three times!  Each time it was because he wanted to go off the trail and into the powder.  But, since he didn't really have a lesson on snowmobiling, we usually just nose dived into the snow.  My personal favorite was when the snowmobile tipped over!  It was so fluffy soft we didn't feel a thing and just tumbled off together and laughed.

Alexa, on the other hand... haha- jk, she did a good job.  She didn't get stuck at all.

I didn't get stuck all day, but I definitely came close.  And Dad got stuck real good.   

There was so much snow that tons of people on the trails were getting stuck.  In fact, the trip was a little slow because every ten minutes we would come upon a person that was stuck and Roy would stop to help out.  While I watched.  :-)

And when I tried to stop him...

Haha!  Oh it was fun.  In this picture Alexa stepped off the trail and she sank!  So the snow was at least up to our hips out there!

Snow is fun.  The other day Roy and I went snowboarding with some friends and my hubby is really getting the hang of it already.  I wish we could go every weekend!  Every day!  Bring  on the snow!!!


Why are they called in-laws?  Out of curiosity, I did a search on Google and it came up dry.  Doesn't anyone know where this title originated?

My in-laws are more like crazy outlaws
Okay, after looking at this picture, I know what you're thinking.  "Elliot... you have the coolest in-laws in the universe."  And you're entirely correct.

How did I get so lucky?  Dunno.  But I had always heard that when you are thinking about getting married to someone, you need to make sure to check out his family.  "You don't just marry him, you marry into his family."  So, I went about this in the normal way.  FACEBOOK STALKING!

Haha- it's true.  Only his parents, though.  I already knew two of his three sisters pretty early on, and they were really nice and I got along with them great.  Kirsten (the eldest) was a little intimidating at first but HEY, it's her job.  As an eldest, I wholeheartedly respect that.  But I was really curious to meet his mother.  Why?  Because Roy talked to her on the phone a lot.

I didn't need to hire Sherlock to know that Roy is a bit of a mama's boy.  He doesn't like to go too long without talking to her.  Cute!  But who is this wonder woman?  And how did she learn to read minds???  Yeah, before I even got around to properly stalking her page, she requested to be my friend!  Oh, I immediately knew she was good.  She was one step ahead of me already.  She was... too good.

One day I was signing off Facebook to go to class when the Mama Buck herself instant messaged me.
My palms got sweaty, which doesn't usually happen to me.  I was so nervous.  Dying to impress her, I pounced on a thesaurus.  Haha- okay that's really not true, but that would have been funny, huh?  I'm getting a little carried away with the story.  But the truth is that I so badly wanted to impress her that I abandoned plans to prepare for class and stayed on Facebook for an extra fifteen minutes.  She was nice!  I felt relief.  And I was fifteen minutes late to class that day.

I later met Laura when she came to visit her kids in Rexburg.  I learned we share a love of books and we both hate shopping, so I knew she had to be cool.  But Roy's dad was still a mystery.  I'd talked to him on the phone only one time --once-- before Roy put a ring on my finger.

Friends asked me, "Isn't that weird?  You've never met his dad and you're engaged?"

Confidently, I told everyone I wasn't worried.  But I was a little.

Only because everyone I'd met who knew Dennis told me things along the lines of, "Just wait 'til you meet Dennis.  Hopefully he won't scare you off."


I finally met Dennis in Provo when he and Laura came to visit last year.

Tips for meeting in-laws:
Oh... I guess I only have one:
#1 RULE Avoid the topic of grandchildren like viral meningitis.  (Sorry, but isn't "the plague" getting old?  That was like seven centuries ago.  We have soap now, I'm pretty sure the black death isn't making a comeback.  Let's get over our irrational fears, shall we?  And is it just me or does this post seem a little schizo?)

Dennis likes to see if he can make you blush.  So that first night at dinner whenever he mentioned babies I basically just blushed and shrugged.  Phew!  As easy as avoiding the plague!  I passed inspection and nobody stopped the wedding, which is good because we wouldn't have been able to return the ring.  Not without a trip to London.  Hmm...
Nope, still not worth it.  :-)

I'm not as shy or nervous around the in-laws anymore.  Roy no longer has to nudge me or whisper, "You haven't said anything the whole time."  A lot of my confidence has stemmed from being around them more and more (and I'm always shy around people I don't know well), but in all honesty, a lot of it has come from how nice and relaxed they are.  There's zero pressure, but they're also ready to help you out whenever you really need it.

It was awesome to have them visit during the Christmas break.  We benefited from both Laura's cooking and Dennis' fix-it skills.  But the best was just going out to the movies, playing Apples to Apples, hanging out, etc.  The highlight was going to the LDS Timpanogos temple.  It's one of the prettiest temples I've ever seen!  And we got to go with Leah for her first time.  It was excellent!

Horror stories about monster-in-laws that try to wedge their way into every aspect of your married lives?  Micro-managing father-in-laws?  Not for me!  Seriously, I love being a bUcKmAsTeR!

{Dennis, Kelsey popping out in the back there, Leah and her fiance Jamie, Roy + Me, Catye who is Jamie's super cool sister, Laura, and Kenny and Andrea who are honorary Buckmasters in this photo.}

We Had Ourselves a Merry Little Christmas

Christmas has been gone for weeks, but Roy and I are still singing carols all the time.  You know, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the snow because it usually starts out with, "Baby it's Cold Outside" as we're running from the warmth of our car to our apartment.
We really did have ourselves a merry little Christmas!
 The trip to Tucson went smoothly.  Alexa finished up her first semester in Idaho and spent the night at our apartment to make her trip home 3.5 hours less painful.  But she didn't get in until a ridiculous hour and so waking up early in the morning for the trip was difficult.  As we planned to caravan down, I told Alexa I would drive for her whenever she got too tired.
That time came around five o'clock, when we still had a few hours to go.  We spent those hours making up our own lyrics to every song that popped up on her iPod.  The only rules were that the word hamburger had to be in the chorus.  So we switched off singing verses and then laughing our heads off.
So that's when I freaked out,
Couldn't get my burger down,
I'm ch-ch-choking and 
You're asking what I'm thinkin' bout.
Felt like I couldn't breath
You ask what's wrong with me
My best friend Leslie says
She's just having heart burn
You know, the Miley Cyrus Song?  Um... you had to be there.  And you also had to be stuck in a car for 10 hours.
Being in Tucson was nice.  It was good to shed the boots, coats, and extra layers for a while.  Roy and I had a week to relax (aka work on his personal statement and school applications) and get ready for Christmas.  And, of course, get ready for his birthday.
Decorating the tree is always fun :-)
 A tradition Mom has always kept up has been to get us each ornaments for every year.  It's fun to look back on those, which usually represented what we were into at the time.  I had lots of cats.
The hand made ornaments are always a riot too.  We all put up our own and then put up Mason's for him too.  We missed him!
 In everything we did that week, Zac was usually with us.  Poor kid has been living as an only child for so long, he kept following us around like we might disappear if he let us out of his sight- haha!  The three of us quoted the show The Office frequently.  We're all very into it right now-- only like four years behind the rest of the world.  One of Zac's favorite characters is Kevin.
So I suggested Zac try out the Kevin look.  Roy was all-too-willing to help out.  They went outside and gave Zac a little hair cut.  When Dad came home, Zac wore a hat until the opportune moment, which came while we were at a Christmas play.
Dad did a double-take.  I was waiting for lightening to strike, but all Dad said was, "Knucklehead," and that was the end of it.  Pretty funny!  And that play was really good.  Roy bought tickets for the family as a Christmas gift, and we all went to Phoenix to watch it.  It's called The Forgotten Carols.  I liked it because it blended the modern commercial Christmas with the traditional Christ centered holiday.  
Christmas eve we did all of the traditions: Had our grandparents over for a nice dinner, read the nativity story from the Bible, got in our matching P.J.s from Mom, and watched The Grinch with Jim Carrey. 
Christmas morning Roy and I ran around waking everyone up.  We jumped on Zac's bed, then Alexa's bed, then Mom's bed.  Then we all started shredding wrapping paper.
Notice Zac had to lose his tufts.
 We got lots of games this year!  LoVe
 Yes, I got Roy a plunger.  Mostly just because I wanted to wrap a plunger.  Also, we didn't have one.
 This is one of my favorite pictures ever.  I'm going to send it to Mason because I think it'll make him laugh.
We got to talk to our missionary bro on the phone!  He called around 2:30 and we talked to him for an hour about everything we could think of.  If I had to use one word to describe him right now... happy.  I've never heard Mason so plain happy with life.  It was really good to hear from him.
We went to Grandma and Grandpa's for Christmas dinner.  I can't imagine what Christmas would be like without Grandma's homemade Mexican food!  MMMMMM!!!!
We all exchanged homemade gifts, which is always really funny.  Or really impressive!  We've got a talented family.  For the most part.  ;-p
And as soon as we got home from that it was birthday time!  
 Roy's birthday party!  I made him go upstairs and pack our bags while I decorated and Mom made him peach cobbler. 
 Lynnie was there for the party.  Roy LOVES socks.  He couldn't have been happier.
I already wrote my birthday dedication to my hubby, so I won't do it again.  But I do love this guy.  And I loved our matching P.J.s this year too.  Everything was perfect.
Except for the part where we had to drive back to Utah the next morning.  
But I was excited to get back to our crazy tree and decorate it properly.  I know, Christmas was over, but I thought we could still keep the tree up for a week or two.  You saw it before, all shoved up against the ceiling, right?  Well, we had shortened it and I had bought some candy canes to hang on it, but that was really all we had.  At Grandma and Grandpa's house, after exchanging homemade gifts, my Aunt Debbie gave me a box of Christmas ornaments!!!!!
I also received a few from Mom, and I was so excited to have real decorations-- and ones that mean something too!  Mom got us a beautiful glass wedding cake that had "Our First Christmas" on it with the date.  The London ornaments represented the time when Roy came out to visit me, and I knew I wanted to be with him always, and we went and bought a ring.  There is a bride and groom, a 2010 {for our wedding year}, and pine cones to represent getting married in beautiful Oregon.

 Ta-da!  How great does that tree look? 
Today we stripped the ornaments off, which was kind of sad.  Now we're trying to make some room in this apartment.  Anybody want a free tree?