Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter and other Hilarious Happenings....

Lots of exciting things to blog about!! The week of Easter was a fun one- I had a hair appointment and, up until I got to the appt. and sat down in the chair, I could not decide what I wanted to do! Light or dark? Long or short? Well, here's a picture of what combination was the winner:

It's kind of a terrible picture (the lighting is terrible) but I went with a really dark brown and I took the leap and got bangs! And chopped about 2-3 inches off the length. Again, really hard to see in this pic because of the lighting, but there ya go! 

Next exciting thing that happened- my aunt and uncle (favorites, I might add) Marty and Rachel came up from Utah to spend the weekend with the family for Easter!! They brought their 2 month old baby Logan, so it was really exciting to finally get to meet him! We spent the weekend shopping, hanging out, watching movies,  family dinners, ... the works! 
The Easter bunny visited Jeff and I this year- his basket was chalked full of candy, and mine was full of my favorites: Dentyne gum, Trop50 Orange Juice and Cranberry Orange Muffin Mix and pretty flowers! Good thing the Easter bunny knew not to bring me any yucky candy or sugar.... :)

Easter Sunday we went to the Regional Conference broadcast which was really good. My favorite talk was Elder Uchtdorf (he's usually one of my favorites at Conference, too) and he spoke about the importance of setting spiritual and temporal goals in our families. I love the simplicity of his message- how much more we will accomplish in our families if we just set goals for ourselves! So, we took his challenge and have set our own scripture/prayer/Temple goals. We just started this week, but I'm excited for the added joy, peace and Spirit that it will bring into our little family :)

After Conference we went to my grandparent's house out in Eagle for Easter festivities! It was so awesome to see my cousin Andy and his girlfriend Annie- Jeff hadn't met him yet, so it was nice to see him and catch up on their lives! The kids did Easter egg hunts and we had a huge Easter Feast! A FEaster! :) I have a bunch of pictures of Easter day but I just realized they're on my digital camera, and I don't have the USB cable for it, so pictures will be posted next week when my new one gets here :)

Last exciting/hilarious thing from Easter weekend! Marty and Rachel had originally planned on leaving Sunday night to head back down to Utah, but when it came time to leave, Rachel really wanted to stay longer and spend more time with the family. So the decision was made that Marty would drive my grandma's car back to Utah on Sunday night, and then I would drive with Rach and her 4 kids in their Suburban back to Utah on MOnday and then drive my gma's car back on Tuesday. I was super excited to get to spend more time with Rach and the kids, and help her out with them as they made the long trip back to Draper. 
SO- we left Boise at about 11:30 am on Monday and made a pit stop in Burley so we could eat and let the kids run around. We were there for about an hour and right as we were leaving, my 3 yr old cousin Lizzie announced that she had to go potty- again. So I took her in and she went, we washed her hands, and as she was walking out of the bathroom I noticed she kept pulling at the bum of her jeans and kind of walking funny. So I asked her if she was okay, and she said yeah. I asked her if she had a wedgie, and she said no. So I shrugged it off, and away we went down the road. About 10 miles before Snowville, UT I was driving and Rach was sitting passenger seat, Lizzie yells from the very back seat, "Mama! Mama!" Rachel answers, "Yes, Lizzie?"  "I have poo-poo!" We both whip our heads around to see Liz holding out a crumpled piece of toilet paper with quite a lot of "poo-poo" on it!! Rach instantly goes in to Mommy- mode and finds a paper cup to put the little nugget in- and I go into laugh hysterically- mode. So Rach asks Lizzie, "Where did you get that??" And she exclaims, "From my bum-bum!!" At this point in time the whole incident in the Burley restroom is starting to make sense, and everyone is laughing and trying not to gag- not to mention trying to get Lizzie not to touch anything! Then, to top it all off, we're almost to the Snowville exit and Rachel looks back to see Lizzie sucking on her two fingers that she was just holding her little treasure with a few moments before. She goes, "Lizz! Get your fingers out of your mouth!!!!" And Lizzie goes, "Why mama?"  "Because you have POOP ON THEM!!!" And that's when I lost it completely- I was no-shame, all-out dying of laughter. Well, we got to Snowville and thank goodness she didn't have any "poo-poo" in the car or on her clothes. We figure what happened was that she wiped her bum in Burley, but everything didn't quite make it out of her bum. I told Rach to make sure and write this one down in the good ol' journal and title it, "Things you never think you'll hear yourself (or your kids) say". Boy, I sure can't wait to have kids ;)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

6 months = Half a Year!! and Unemployment :)

Yesterday, April 9th marked 6 months of marriage for the Rencher Family!! And all I can say is- WOW! It truly has been the best 6 months of my life! Never a dull moment around here! From moving into our perfect little townhouse, Jeff getting a new job as a system engineer for a telemedicine company, Thanksgiving with the Erickson Fam, the birth of our new nephew Brexon!, Christmas with the Rencher fam and talking to my brother Dallin who is currently serving his mission in the Taiwan, Taipei Mission, weekends at the Rencher cabin in Pine, me getting acute bronchitis, our freakin-amazing honeymoon cruise to the Western Caribbean, discovering that my food allergy to water chestnuts is a lot worse than I thought..., celebrating St. Patty's day with the Erickson fam eating green pasta and green Jello, all the madness of March Madness and participating in my first bracket!, watching General Conference, and the grand finale of me {finally!} quitting my job!!- Let's just say, "Rencher" and "Adventure" rhyme for a reason :)

So back to me quitting my job.... Best. Day. Ever. I had been working for Capital Educators FCU for about 3ish years, and really truly enjoyed my time there. I learned a lot of skills that will benefit me for the rest of my life- mostly financial skills and people skills. I made some of my best friendships there, and was able to gain a lot of people-skills, since I was talking to (or sometimes "dealing with") the members of the credit union all day long. I had the opportunity to apply for and obtain a supervisory position while I was there, and learned a great deal from that experience. Probably the biggest lesson I learned was how to balance my inherent need to "people-please". But when a frustrated or even all-out pissed off person walks into our branch at the credit union, 9 times out of 10 I was the one who got to step in and fix the situation. Tough. Not fun. Irritating. But I developed a tough skin, and learned to brush things off and not take things personally. And I am grateful for those opportunities. But I always just saw this as a temporary means to an end, until I really figured out what I wanted to do with my life. As my friend and boss Jessica put it during my exit interview- "Some people are comfortable being in one position forever, and are perfectly happy doing that. I never really saw you as one of those people. Your creativity and drive and intelligence I knew would lead you to bigger things, once the opportunity was right." Bingo! What better time than now, while Jeff and I are free of kids, mortgage, car payments, etc... to do a little bit of self-discovery! I plan on spending the next few months just exploring what I enjoy and getting my feet wet in as many areas as I can. Exciting? Absolutely!!
And now to tackle a few nagging items that have been pushed to the back-burner the past several months... Getting back in shape and organizing our spare room. I'm more nervous for the latter of the two.... I'm starting tomorrow morning. Can't wait!!
Okay, and I'll also make it a point to blog more. For those of you who get on me constantly about it... You know who you are :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Honeymoon Cruise~ Caribbean Style!!

Jeff and I returned home from our honeymoon cruise on Feb. 27th! We spent a luxurious 7 days soaking up the sun on a cruise in the Western Caribbean. Our cruise embarked out of New Orleans, LA on Sunday Feb. 20th. The cruise was 7 nights, and included Costa Maya Mexico, Belize, Roatan Island Honduras, and Cozumel, Mexico as the ports of call. 

We flew into New Orleans on Saturday the 19th, at around 8:30 in the evening. I already knew I was going to love our week in paradise when we walked off the plane and felt a wall of humidity! Aaaah, how I LOVE the humidity!! We got checked into our hotel at around 9:15 or so, and walked across the street to the McDonald's for some dinner. 10 pm and 70ish degrees felt AMAZING!! We must have looked like tourists, because when Jeff ordered a McChicken sandwich the lady goes, "Those are spicy here. Just so you know." Haha, that gave us a good laugh. 
The next morning we woke up around 10, and I went downstairs to the fitness center and worked out and Jeff went swimming in the hotel pool. Again, 10 am with 75 degree weather and not a cloud in the sky! We went back and got showered and called a cab to pick us up at 12:30. Our ship left at 5 pm that evening, but check-in on the ship was from 12-3. Our cab driver told us all about the parades that were happening down town, as part of the "pre-Mardi Gras" celebration. We passed the New Orleans SuperDome, home of the Saints, Sugar Bowl, and (some years) the Super Bowl. What little we were able to see of the city during the taxi ride was very.... diverse. We passed some ghetto neighborhoods, then an area of big, gorgeous, Southern-architectural homes, and then the "old" downtown, with old-style churches that looked like they dated back to the beginning of the city, and then the "new" downtown with the big business buildings. We saw a lot of the city that had been re-built after Hurricane Katrina, and we saw areas that still were in shambles from the devastation of it. It seemed like every other billboard we passed was advertising the upcoming Mardi Gras festival. The cab driver told us that almost every street in the downtown N.O. area gets shut down during it. I can only imagine how crazy things get down there when Mardi Gras is going on!!
So we finally got down to the check-in area, which was at the dock where our ship was, behind one of their big downtown conference centers that had been rebuilt after Katrina. We went through what seemed like 5 different check-in stations, and FINALLY boarded the ship!! While we were waiting in one of the lines, I looked out one of the windows at a giant white wall with windows and go, "Whoa babe! Look! There's the ship!!" Jeff started laughing and goes, "Um, actually that's the conference center. The ship is on the other side." And he turned me around- to look out the other side of the building- and then I really saw the ship! Haha the real thing looked a lot cooler than what I thought was the ship. 
The first thing we did when we got onto the ship was go up to the top floor and walk around the deck. 

This was the first picture I took on the ship!

We walked around for a while and then went to check out our (oh so spacious) stateroom! Once our bags had finally been brought down to our room we changed and headed to the food court and had some dinner. The ship finally took off right before the sun set that evening. It was beautiful to see the city from the river!

The ship headed down the river until it finally reached the open ocean at around midnight that night. The next day was our first day at sea. I woke up at around 8 am and was very anxious to see the ocean! We finally got upstairs at around 9:30 and had some breakfast. Then we headed outside to walk around the ship and check everything out. 10 am and around 80 degrees. Heaven!!! We found a couple of chairs at the back of the boat by the kids swimming pool, which was nice and guarded from the strong winds on the top deck. We basically spent the whole day laying out, reading books, eating, playing ping pong, eating, checking out all the different parts of the ship, eating, and eating some more! 

Here's a picture of how windy it was at the very front of the ship! The wind literally would blow you over!

We also found a room that had a wheel that directed those old time ships~ so I took over steering the ship for a while, gave Captain Evans Hoyt a rest for a bit :)

Our first day at sea was a lot of fun. We swam in the pool, ate a lot, walked around, and just soaked up as much of the sun as we could! We met a fun group of two couples that night while we were in the hot tub, and ended up doing stuff with them a couples times throughout the trip!

Alright, so our first stop was in Costa Maya, Mexico. Costa Maya is very flat, with miles and miles of sandy beach. When we entered the "city center" of Costa Maya there was a shopping center, with tons of shops, henna tattoo shops, and hair braiding shops.  

This is a "swim-up" bar right that was right in the center of all the shops! You could swim right up to it and order drinks!
I thought this was a really cool idea... but the more I think about it now, the more I think that mixing drunk people with deep swimming pools might not be the smartest idea....

We took a.... taxi?.... over to a beach about 5 minutes away from the shopping center. It was basically one long paved path with tons of little shops set up all along one side, with the beach on the other side. We found a little restaurant/bar that had free access to their beach huts and chairs, and then they had kids that would come out and take your order for drinks and food. It was so nice!! The ocean was a gorgeous turquoise blue color, perfectly clear, and there weren't any waves because of  a small reef about 100 yards from the beach. 

The... taxi... we took. Okay, really it was a bunch of plastic chairs that were clamped to the floor of a tiki hut that was stuck on the back of a VERY old pickup truck! 
I don't know if you can read the sign above my head, but it says, "You are allowed to tip me. Have a good day!" 

A picture of our ship from the beach where we stayed all day.

There was a pool right on the beach that had dolphins in it, and you could pay to swim with them. They had a rubber ball that they tossed around to each other, and they would jump over the little bridge in the picture. 

The next day we cruised down to Belize City, Belize. Belize is a gorgeous country that is very hill-y and full of lush jungles. Belize is 2 feet below sea level, so there aren't really any beaches. Also, Belize is the only country in Central America where the primary language spoken is English. 
While we were here we did a shore excursion where we went cave-tubing and zip-lining. We took a bus out to a natural park, which was right in the middle of the jungle. We hiked for about 20 minutes to get to the river, and then floated through the caves on big rubber tubes. Our tour guide was awesome! He was very knowledgeable about.... everything really. He told us the history of Belize, the different cultures and nationalities of the people residing there, and he knew every plant, animal, bug, bird,... that we came across. He also knew a lot, and told us a lot, about the ancient Mayans and their culture. 
After we finished our cave tubing, we went zip-lining. There were about 7 different zip-lines, that ranged from 100ft to about 400 ft long. 

We had so much fun in Belize!! We learned so much about the country, and got to experience so much excitement as well. All in all, we would say it was "UnBELIZEable!" :)

Our third port was Roatan Island, Honduras. We didn't have any plans for this port, so we just met up with some friends we had met on the cruise, and rented a van to take us to West Bay Beach, a 20 minute drive from the pier. We found a nice beach and just relaxed, swam, drank pina coladas, and got tan. The water was perfectly clear, no waves, and really warm!

The beach we stayed at in Honduras- very relaxing and warm!

We found a starfish! 

Our last stop was in Cozumel, Mexico. We don't have many pictures from here because it's mostly just a shopping/tourist place. We did visit Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Restaurant. It was pretty sweet!

This was, by far, the best vacation I have ever been on! I absolutely LOVE cruising, and am in the process of convincing Jeff that we should skip Christmas this year and do another one- we'll see how that goes :)