Friday, June 26, 2009

Week in Portland

We spent last week in the wonderful city of Portland, Oregon. We took a week off of work to go to Reg's wedding. We flew out early Wednesday morning and arrived just in time for the shower and bachelor party.

The bachelor party was a crazy bowling party. Jimmy took this picture of me and I really like it. If you are wondering, I did bowl a strike in this frame, one of many. I dominated the Donkin men with a score of 159 in the first game and 160 in the second.

I actually got a little emotional when I walked in the bowling alley because it was the first time I've been to one since my Grandma passed away a few weeks ago. She loved bowling and I loved bowling with her. We used to play where you earned a quarter from everyone in the game if you bowled a strike and she would consistently take our money. Well, after the bachelor party, Grandma Smith owes me about 10 quarters.

Charlie, puzzled that none of the pins fell down
Ice cream afterwards
The next morning we went to Oaks Park, made famous in the movie Free Willy. Turns out it opens at noon so when we got there at 11:00, we had time to play with the funny mirrors.

Jeri doing her best Debra impression
This was the only time I smiled this day. It wasn't long until I was throwing up in the park bathroom. Jackie was getting her nails done with Kristin so it took awhile for them to come and pick me up. I threw up four times while I was there. I then threw up twice on the way home, having to pull over the first time and then in the parking lot of Wells Fargo. One more time when I got home, approximately two and a half seconds after Jackie had me down some Pepto Bismal.

On Friday we had the assignment of setting up for the wedding

It didn't stop Thomas from sneaking away to down a Thomas Kemper root beer before the dinner was to start.

Reg presented Kristin with a necklace that belong to him mother, Lynne. He then presented Jonnie with a necklace with two stones, representing his two mothers, and expressed his love and appreciation. I looked around at this moment and there was not a dry eye at a few of the tables.

The party table
Reg had Charlie draw this picture for him and it turned out absolutely amazing. It represents the quest that Reg had to go on to get Kristin. She initially told him that they wouldn't start dating and then when they did, her Dad told Reg to back off. Click on the picture and get a closer look at all of the people that Reg has to go through in this picture. Can you find Robocop, Skeletor, Voldemort, or the Foot clan from Ninja Turtles? Once you have found those, can you find Ed Harris from the movie Enemy at the Gates?

If anyone wants a copy without the portraits of Reg and Kristin in the sky, Charlie can make you a copy. He can even make a copy and then draw your face in those places.
Reg put this shirt on as we set up the tables and chairs for the big wedding day

The chair covers took forever! This is part way to completion here in this shot. We set up the rest (white fabric behind arch and fresh flowers everywhere) the next morning.

The entire gang
We seriously can't go more than 5 pictures without taking a funny face picture. Reg doing his tribute to Michael Jackson and "Blanket".

I had to take off my tie because we were not matching

This is my new nephew, Benjamin. The happiest, most content little kid. He kept running to the wall, turning around, and then running full speed at me and jumping on my chest.
Sunday night was our 1 year anniversary. I guess you are supposed to eat a piece of your wedding cake on your first anniversary. Oops. Would have been good to know a year ago. Anyways, we stayed the night at the Benson Hotel in downtown. All rooms have tempur-pedic beds and I am now a fan.

In the morning we left the hotel, then went back to the hotel to get Jackie's phone, and then to the house to pick up our bags and head to the airport. Our flight was delayed an hour or so because of a storm in Atlanta. We arrived in Atlanta just 20 minutes before our next flight was to take off. We got off and saw that it was delayed an hour so we grabbed some dinner. I noticed hundreds of people in line to rebook their flights so I started to get nervous. I did not want to have to fight that many people.

Our ticket instructed us to get our seat numbers with the gate attendant. When we got there, there were already 100 people trying to go standby and in line to see the gate attendant. We weren't sure what to do so we got in line to wait our turn so we could talk with her. They announced they were starting to board so Jackie charged up to the front to see what we needed to do while I waited in the back still. A minute later she was waiving me to the front, the lady printed out our tickets and we got to board right then.

When we got back, we quickly remembered how humid it is in South Florida. Man! It was about 2:00 am and we were just sweating as we walked around outside. Anyways, it was a fun trip and we both had a blast out there.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Memories of the King of Pop

Can you believe that Michael Jackson died today? That's crazy and extremely sad. Like millions of people all around the world, we are both huge fans of Michael, and he even played a part of our early courtship. That is why we decided to share some Michael Jackson memories for you guys, in no particular order.

- Our "first date" consisted of us watching a DVD of Michael's Live in Bucharest concert. I actually just realized this. When people asked us about our first date, I didn't really know what to say because we met on a study abroad and we were not allowed to date during that time. We had to keep everything a secret and we really couldn't go out just the two of us. So, once the program ended, a group of us took a bus ride to Johannesburg from Maputo. Jackie and I got to sit next to each other on the bus and hold hands and not have to worry about getting caught. It was such a nice feeling. To top it off, once we hit the road the bus driver put the Michael DVD on and that was just icing on the cake.

- The very first Friday night in Mozambique we didn't really know what to do as a group. I don't remember how it came up but Jackie knew the thriller dance and offered to teach it to everyone. All of the girls were stoked on that so that is what we did that first Friday night. I gave up about half way, not because I couldn't do it, but because I wanted a better view of Jackie doin her thang.

- I believe I was in the 4th grade when HIStory came out and I remember asking my parents to get it for me for Christmas. I remember my Dad asking me several times if I was sure I really wanted that CD, mostly because I'm sure he didn't want Michael coming from my room all of the time. He gave in and Santa came through.

-Jackie here, it's my turn now...I wanted to throw in some Michael Jackson moments from my life too. Highlight would be the night when I was absolutely determined to learn the Thriller dance. My friend Lindz was staying the night and we just decided "tonight is the night!" We were up until about 4:00 am and we got it all down. We went to Shari's Restaurant to celebrate and we busted out some of the moves there as well.

I have had several opportunities to teach the thriller dance since that night. Brian mentioned Africa. I also taught my sisters and cousins so that we could perform it at a family reunion. Fabulous! I've convinced several people to learn it for talent shows and even music videos for the youth, complete with zombies emerging from behind grave stones at the cemetery where my mother is buried.
My roommates and I performed the Thriller dance as zombies at a Halloween party.
My sisters and I performed Thriller at big brother Charlie's wedding and we even busted it out at my own wedding (our wedding). That was a blast! I have been mocked many-a-time for my Michael Jackson fanaticism...I made my acapella group do "The Way You Make Me Feel" and it was amazing! They were slightly annoyed but we did it anyway!

The only ring tones that I ever purchased for my phone were Michael Jackson songs. Daddy is "Beat It," my best friend is "Billie Jean," my husband is "The Way You Make Me Feel," and everyone else is "Smooth Criminal." I could probably go on and on and I really am in shock that my dream of ever seeing Michael live in concert died with him today. I'm glad I can still listen to his great music; I always have been and will be a huge fan for the rest of my life!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Memorable Moments from Year 1

Jackie and I have now been married for a year. Crazy, I know. As cliche as it might sound, it truly feels like we've been married forever but at the same time it feels like our wedding day was yesterday. We actually celebrated our anniversary this past Sunday and we started talking about a few of the memorable moments. Here's a top 5 list of what went on in the last year (besides our wedding day, because that memory is in a league of its own):

5. U.S.A. vs Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. This is the only one in the top five to not be a trip so that is saying something. Half the reason this game was so great was that Jackie's sisters Jeri and Margie were here to celebrate with us. It was their first professional ball game and boy did they pick a good one.

4. The Steiner Stampede Reunion. We had a good time down in Arizona as Jackie and I got to hang out with her family as a married couple for the first time. In Charlie's absence, I even got invited up to sing with the family and gave an unforgettable performance if I say so myself. Yes, her sisters still love to bring up my offbeat clapping.

3. Our trip to the Azores and the Portugal mainland. With 5 different posts dedicated to just this trip (not including the other countries we visited in that number) we had to put it in the list. We got to relax at the beach, visit historic sites, and reunite with lifelong friends. What more can you ask for in a vacation?

2. The Epic Journey. The journey from Provo to Miami was filled with many unforgettable memories. We got to see friends and family along the way on our 5 day trip, including Michael on his mission (shh!!). However, nothing will be more memorable than our experience up the Vail pass. Money-Saving Tip: If your car gets stuck in the pass and you are without chains, get out of the car, have your wife take the wheel, and push your car up hill to avoid paying that $1000 fine.

1. Without a doubt it is our (Mis)Adventure in Paris. The memory still makes me sick to my stomach. The image of my wife staring at me with that shocked and sad face while I stood there on the platform will haunt me for many years to come.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We'll Get There Fast and Then We'll Take it Slow

No, unfortunately we didn't make it to Kokomo this weekend, but we did make it to that checkered flag in the middle of the sea! I thought that was a pretty cool picture, even better than the one of our cross-country journey from a few months back. We decided to take a trip down to Key West to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary a week early. We'll be in Portland this weekend for Jackie's brother's wedding, or should I say Jackie's friend's wedding. Her older brother is marrying one of her good friends. I guess it doesn't just happen in the movies.

Anyways, we took off Friday around lunch time and made the four hour drive down to Key West. It's deceivingly long because it's only 160 miles away, but with the 45/55 mph, one lane highway down there, it takes a lot longer than it feels like it should. We got to our bed and breakfast about 6:00 pm and walked two blocks to this site below:

It's not really the Southernmost point in the continental U.S., it only is if you discount the naval base that is right next to it.
We then went and had dinner at the Souternmost Beach cafe. We snagged the free apetizer and dessert coupons from the bed and breakfast. Nothing like a big plate of nachos, followed by mahi-mahi, and then a key lime pie to wrap things up. This is where we first realized that Key West has mosquitoes and that they love Jackie's legs.

I'm starting to get the self-portrait shots down

We walked off all of that food by taking a stroll down Duval street. Key West is a wild place and Duval is where it all happens. We had only gone a couple of blocks before we received our first invitation to go clubbing with transvestites. We passed. A few blocks later we walked by man that said, "Hey man, you doin' alright! Hey, you know what I'm talking about, I'm a black man!" I responded with a silent head nod, acknowleding that yes, I knew what he was talking about.

We were about a 5 minute walk from our place when it started to pour. We ducked under somebodies front porch to wait it out a little. Turns out the place was a house owned by the Westin and used for some of their employees. A man from Jamaica walked out and told us it would be $20 to hang out during the rain. He told us he was joking and then came over and chatted with us for a few minutes. After about 10 minutes, it had calmed down a little and we made a run for it.

We woke up Saturday morning and had breakfast with a grandma from Boulder, CO. We chatted it up with her and she was really impressed with all of my baseball knowledge. She was a Red Sox fan and asked me if she needed to plug her ears when I told her who I cheer for (she didn't want to hear 'the Yankees'). She turned out to be the mother of the owner of the Bed & Breakfast. I love making friends at those places.

We signed up for an all-day water adventure activity on Saturday. We got to go snorkeling, jet skiing, parasailing, and swimming. They feed us breakfast, lunch, and provided free drinks all day long. Of the 84 people on the boat, I believe the two of us, along with the 3 teenage kids were the only ones to not have any alcohol. When they started the soda line, it was only me and this 12 year old kid. Kind of funny.

Snorkeling was first and that was pretty fun. I didn't see anything I haven't seen before though. I almost got kicked out of the water for swimming too close to the federally protected coral reef. The guy on the boat was yelling for the lifeguard in the water to kick me out but I just pretended I didn't know what was going on and swam away from the lifeguard.

In the afternoon they took us to this area where they had a designated swimming area. My goal was to be the first person on top of the inflatable iceberg because that is how Emmett's do it. In the 5th grade I was the first person to ascend the mighty whale in the water at the Dunes in Newport Beach and two years later my little brother was the first when his 5th grade class went.

Jackie was in the water when I actually was the first so this is just a reenactment photo. Boo yah!
Camera lag, notice my splash though!

Parasailing was awesome. One of the most peaceful things I have ever done. If anyone ever asks me again if I would rather have the ability to fly, super strength, x-ray vision, invisibility, or any other super power, hands down it is the ability to fly.
We have lift off. We asked some people to take a few pictures while we were doing it. The guy went ahead and took about 50.

I pretended to walk on the water.

June is Pride month and Key west is the place to celebrate it. Duval street had a big gay & lesbian parade while we were there.

On Sunday we went to the "Little White House". Truman spent 175 days while he was President in this house. He would bring his work from Washington so it would be considered a working vacation. It's a neat little building. Obama has already accepted an invitation to go stay down there.
Notice the glasses in my front pocket...
...ahh, that's a lot better

I stayed in my long sleeve shirt because I got sunburned on Saturday. Pretty sure I was the only one on the island wear long pants as well as a long sleeved shirt
On the way home I stopped to get this picture. Storm on the left, sunny skies on the right. It was pretty spectacular.

Familiar Face

Our good friend Keith Fairbank came into town a couple of weeks ago. He missed us so much he decided to include us in his summer adventure. He came here, rented a car, drove up to Kentucky to stay with some more friends, and then finally made it to his parents place in New York.

It was just like old times when Keith was here. I lived with Keith right before I got married so that basically means Jackie lived with Keith as well (everything but spend the night. We played a game of Settlers both nights and watched several episodes of Seinfeld. We did get out of the house once to go eat at a Brazilian restaurant and take a walk along the waterfront.