Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Dallas and I have been traveling for the past week.
Last Thursday I drove from California up to Seattle where I picked Dallas up from the airport (not sure how that was fair having to drive while he got to fly!)  From there we drove over to the Ensign Ranch located in the Snoqualmie Mountains, meeting up with over 100 members of our crazy Adams Family.  I will be blogging specifically about the reunion weekend in a future post, but I'll just say that it was a blast of organized chaos, loved ones, camping, and great food.

After the weekend we drove up to Vancouver, British Columbia for a fun adventure.  I hadn't been there since I was a child, but remembered the Capilano Suspension Bridge as being a fun memory with my family.  "Fun" being the relative term for "scared out of my mind" since my dad and brothers liked to rock the bridge back and forth as high as they could!  We drove in around midnight and luckily got one of the last rooms at the Hyatt, downtown Vancouver.  It had an amazing view of the city and an incredibly large balcony, not to mention the bed was so comfy!  Our first day in Vancouver we decided to head up to the Capilano Suspension Bridge for the afternoon.
 A new attraction, the Cliff Walk, had just opened at the beginning of June, so the place was packed with all sorts of tourists, but it was totally worth the crowds!  We couldn't have asked for better weather, especially since Vancouver is known for it's rain and over cast skies, we lucked out with sun and almost no cloud coverage.
 Totem Poles lined the entrance to the park and of course we couldn't walk through without having ourselves a little bit of fun!  We then made our way towards the main suspension bridge over the Capilano River, hanging 230 ft high and 446 ft long.  It was absolutely amazing, which is why it brings in over 800,000 tourists a year.
 According to Wikipedia, "the bridge was originally built in 1889 by George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and park commissioner for Vancouver. It was originally made of hemp ropes with a deck of cedar planks, and was replaced with a wire cable bridge in 1903. In 1910 Edward Mahon purchased the Capilano Suspension Bridge. "Mac" MacEachran purchased the Bridge from Mahon in 1935 and invited local natives to place their totem poles in the park, adding a native theme. In 1945, he sold the bridge to Henri Aubeneau.  The bridge was completely rebuilt in 1956.  The park was sold to Nancy Stibbard, the current owner, in 1983."
 Dallas has been loving our camera just as much as I have.   He took the above pictures and totally has an eye for photography I think.  We had a blast taking pictures of the gorgeous nature paths and man made lakes on the other side of the bridge.
 Another attraction featured at the park is the Treetop Adventures.  It consists of seven footbridges suspended between old-growth Douglas Fir trees on the west side of the canyon, forming a walkway up to 98 ft above the forest floor.  I couldn't help but feel like we were Tarzan and Jane up in the tree tops!
 Dallas had fun testing out the strength of the steel cord in the suspended bridges.  Needless to say...they are very strong!
As well as the bridge itself and Treetops Adventure, the park also features rain forest ecotours, award-winning gardens, nature trails, North America's largest private collection of First Nations totem poles, period decor and costumes, and exhibits highlighting the park's history and the surrounding temperate rain forest.

After exploring the Suspension Bridge and the Treetops Adventure, we made our way towards the newest attraction, the Cliff Walk.  The pictures in the first collage below were taken from their official website, before the rush of crowds.  I thought I would include them so you could imagine just how severe the circumstances of this walk were.  I loved every minute of it!
 The official park website,, has an incredible video of how the Cliff Walk was made.  "Open June 3, 2011, this heart-stopping cliff side journey takes you through rain forest vegetation on a series of unobtrusive cantilevered and suspended walkways jutting out from the granite cliff face above Capilano River to previously unexplored areas of the park. Not for the faint of heart, it is high and narrow and, in some sections, glass (very strong glass) is all that separates guests from the canyon far below."

The pathway is very narrow and only made for one direction, so you had to commit to finishing the walk before starting.  It was a lot of fun, though and we both were amazed at the engineering that went into building it all.  The workers were literally harnessed onto the cliff side while drilling large holes into the mountain; not a job I would ever want!
 It's been such a fun trip so far with Dallas, especially after the long busy season that he's had this year.  I'm so grateful I married my best friend; it makes these long drives and impromptu adventures so much fun.  We end up laughing for hours and simply enjoying our time together.  I don't think I could ever ask for anything more!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Room With A View

Our view from our balcony of the Hyatt, 25th floor...loving the Vancouver Harbor, British Columbia.

Photo of the Week 22

Butterfly Gardens at Epcot Center

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Date with Lincoln

I should have titled this my "outing" with Lincoln, since he was not up to calling it a date, but I just couldn't resist!  I have recently started a tradition of taking my nephews and niece on a "date" by themselves with crazy Aunt Kirsten.  I have noticed that with four of them, I don't get to spend one-on-one time with them like I used to.  So having a special day just for themselves seemed like a perfect solution.

Last Friday Lincoln decided that on his special day he wanted to spend it at the Lawrence Hall of Sciences in Berkeley.  I was secretly excited since I had never been there before.  Lincoln had been on a field trip with his first grade class a couple years ago and had wanted to go back ever since, so it was fun to have him showing me around and telling me stories from his previous visit.

Outside of the Lawrence Hall of Sciences they have a large fountain, whale, and metal structure replicating a DNA strand.  I of course had some fun taking pictures and Lincoln was a total sport when asked to smile at the camera!


Can I just tell you how much I love learning!?
The Lawrence Hall of Sciences is a hands on discovery center for kids of all ages and needless to say, Lincoln and I had a blast.  He is going into fourth grade next year and had some really interesting questions.  We were also able to shine during the planetarium presentation about constellations.  We were the annoying people who kept raising their hands to answer all the questions!  There were so many great exhibits for us to explore and I loved watching Lincoln's mind work.
 They had just opened a new exhibit on dinosaurs.
My close friends know how I feel about these prehistoric lizards...they scare me to death.  I even still have nightmares about Jurassic Park, which I saw when I was 12!  Now usually in museums, they have exhibits of dinosaur bones, fossils, etc.  Here they had life-like moving replicas that clawed and growled when you walked close to them.  I knew the minute we walked around the corner and heard the roars coming from the dark exhibit room I was going to have a serious problem.  Of course, Lincoln on the other hand, loved every minute of it...

After our nerve-wracking adventures at the Lawrence Hall of Sciences, we drove through the Berkeley hills, Tilden Park area.  At the last minute we thought it would be tons of fun if we stopped at the steam engines for a quick ride.  It was a little chilly, especially for Lincoln only wearing his soccer jersey, but we had a lot of fun goofing off in the back of the train.  We may have done some song writing, a little bit of screaming, and I'm sure a lot of annoying our was perfect!
Even though we needed to get back for dinner, we decided one more stop was a necessity...frozen yogurt!  Because who doesn't want to eat dessert before dinner on their special day?
Love ya, Links!
Thanks for letting your obnoxious auntie take you out for the day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pereira's Goodbye Party

 Pereira Family: Carlos, Lisa, Jenny, Jules, Lacey, and Jakey
Anyone who knows me, knows I don't like change.
It's weird to think that Dallas and I have been married and living in Pleasant Hill for 3 years now.  I remember moving here, excited about being married to Dallas and starting our life together, and yet at the same time scared to death to start a new job and find new friends.  I look back over the past three years and feel so unbelieveably grateful for the blessings that have been placed in our lives; one LARGE blessing being the Pereira Family.

I don't know when it happened or how it happened; whether it was just through the ward, or teaching their daughters in primary, or having her children at my school, or having Tammy as our close mutual friend, but Lisa became a dear friend to me.  Dallas and I found ourselves being included in on family trips to Capitola, Muir Beach, and weekly weigh-ins for our weight loss competition.  We found ourselves laughing for hours listening to Carlos, Glenn, and Dallas rant and rave about who-knows-what and somehow convincing Dallas that jumping off the Pereira roof into their pool while wearing Carlos's swim trunks was a good idea!  We found ourselves wrestling with all the kids while trying to watch conference or, more appropriately, the super bowl.  I enjoyed lunch dates and photo shoots with Lisa and her four gorgeous kids.  We found ourselves best friends with one of the most amazingly kind and loving families we had ever met.

Recently job opportunities have encouraged this incredible family to move to southern California.  Case in fear of change.  I realize that it's an amazing opportunity for their family and I'm so happy that things are working out for them, but selfishly I sit back and wish it wasn't happening.  We have already had to say goodbye to our close friends, the Aydelotte's, who moved to Utah at the end of April, and now the Pereiras.  I know that change is a major part of life and it's a blessing in desguise, but it is hard none-the-less.

To help say goodbye and celebrate the years the Pereiras have lived in the area, there was an open house held in their honor Sunday night.  It was so much fun to be able to see all the people that have been affected and felt loved by this family.  They have had such an impact on all those they are around.  I hope they realize how much they are loved, how much they will be missed, and not be annoyed with how often I come down to visit!

Enjoy the many faces of just a few who love the Pereiras! 
(Make sure to click on the images to enlarge.)

Carlos, Lisa, Jenny, Jules, Lacey, and Jakey, Dallas and I love you all so much.  We are so grateful to be able to consider you family.  We can't thank you enough for opening your arms to us and sharing your friendship, humor, and love of life.  It's not goodbye, since we will be seeing you again, but we will miss the daily interactions and seeing your lovely faces so frequently.  
We love you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Photo of the Week 21

In honor of the best father in the world.
Love you, daddy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Flashback Friday: Snow Camping

Have you ever come up with an amazing idea and then gotten into the middle of it and realized how NOT amazing that idea was??  Flashback to February of 2001 while I was living in Liberty square with some of the most adventurous and fun loving girls I'd ever met.  Our good friends in the ward had come up with an idea to go snow camping in the middle of a blizzard.  This was a late-night spontaneous decision, so instead of our previously planned warm movie party, we all quickly threw on some layers and piled into the back of two vehicles; a covered pick up truck towing four wheelers and an SUV.
We should have had a good idea what our evening would hold when both cars got stuck and almost slid off the face of the mountain we were trying to climb, but we pushed onward.  What should have taken us a 25 minute drive up hill to our camping area, ended up to be a two hour adventure getting stuck and unstuck while huge flakes fell from the sky.  We had some determined guys with us though and somehow we made it to a safe enough pull out to set up "camp" a little after midnight.  We had two tents that slept four each, the back of the covered pick up, and then the rest of the guys were busy digging holes to make snow caves... I wish I would have gotten more pictures from our crazy night!
While camp was being set up, Beth and I took the four wheeler for a ride.  Bad mistake, since neither of us had driven a four wheeler in the snow, let alone a blizzard!  We ended up driving off the road into the trees (luckily on the opposite side of the cliffs) and getting it stuck pretty bad.  We then had to hike all the way back to camp, inform our friend who owned the four wheeler what had happened, and then hike all the way back to help get it out of the snow banks.  Good thing we were with pretty laid back people, because everyone thought the whole process was pretty funny.
Needless to say it was the coldest night of my life.  I remember curled up in a group of five or six of us in the back of the truck thinking when the night was going to end.  One of the guys let me wear his big hunting overalls to help cut the chill a bit, but I was still shaking and chattering all night.  Good thing my roommate, Lisa and I were already used to snuggling!

We woke to a gorgeous sight of beautiful snow flakes and a warm fire that one of the guys had made while we were sleeping.  Even though it was the coldest night of my life, I look back at it and just laugh.  I really have been blessed with amazing friends in my life.  Friends that have been spontaneous, fun, accepting, and willing to make and create such memorable experiences.  I can't believe it's been ten years since living with these girls.  It feels like just yesterday I was losing feeling in my toes and laughing at how ridiculous we all were for thinking a blizzard was a good time to go camping!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Amazing Facial Expressions of lil Greta

The other day I had a photo shoot with one of the most gorgeous little girls ever!
Greta was nothing but smiles and was so much fun to take pictures of.  She openly laughed at her mom and dad and didn't cry once...what six month old does that!  I'm not quite done editing all the shots, but I couldn't wait to post these adorable pics.

The many faces of little Greta...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Perfect Surprise

Today I spent a perfect day at the beach.
One of my closest friends, Lisa, is moving to southern California in a couple weeks and I am trying desperately to spend as much time with her and her family as possible before they leave.  It was a perfect day laying out under the warm sun, watching her kids play in the chilly waves, eating fun junk food you never allow yourself to buy, and talking for hours about anything and everything.

When I arrived home several hours later with my skin fried to a crisp I found these on my doorstep...

The card read:
To my lovely wife, because I miss you and can't wait to get back to you.

I called Dallas right away to thank him and give him obnoxious kisses over the phone.  Sometimes I sit back and just ask myself how in the world I found this man?  Why would someone so wonderful, kind, and thoughtful have chosen me?  I guess it's moments like these that make the snoring and ESPN watching seem so minuscule :)

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