Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Best Friends

I am grateful everyday for my two little buddies who absolutely adore one another. Having them this close in age was one of the best things I have ever done. It is beginning to pay off.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


My brother Matt convinced Jess and me to drop by Yosemite on the way home from Newport. The thought of driving 6-7 extra hours with the kids made us think twice (or about 30 times to be honest) about committing to the stop, but it ended up being well worth it. We pulled in late Friday night and set up the tent. I awoke at 3:45 Saturday morning and Matt and I headed up the mountain to begin a 14 mile (round-trip) hike to the top of half dome. The hike was incredible - one of the coolest things I have ever done (although it kicked my butt...but we will get to that later). The hike begins with a 2.5 mile ascent up Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. This first 2.5 miles is brutal - you basically climb straight up the steep hills/cliffs surrounding the waterfalls using thousands of granite stairs. The next 4.5 miles is a beautiful hike through some groves and up a hill covered with huge pines and redwoods. After 7 miles, you reach another set of brutal granite steps to reach the backside of the dome. The backside of the dome is extremely steep, but doable. They have two cables going up the dome that help you not die (although as you can imagine, some have...9 according to the authoritative wikipedia). The way up was difficult, but we managed to do it relatively fast - 3 hours, 45 minutes. I was fine the entire way up. The way down killed me. By the time we reached Vernal Falls, I was dreading the last 1.5 mile or so. My knees decided that they were done for the day. In that last 1.5 mile, I decided that I would never do the hike again. A few hours later, I was already thinking about coming back and going back up. It was such an awesome experience. I'm glad Matt convinced us to come.

Anyway, while we were hiking, Jess and Becky were hanging out at the camp spot...which, by all that I saw, was the best one in the valley. Matt booked a sweet spot that abutted the forest and a small creek. Beck and Ben (Matt's kid) loved playing in the water. Matt and I got back around 1:30 and shortly after that we headed up to Mariposa Grove to see the sequoias. It was a bit of a drive (about an hour), but I am also glad we did that. Those trees are awesome - out of this world.

The rest of the trip was occupied by a bear, a bear cub (which was rad), some waterfalls, and El Capitan. If you can't already tell, I loved Yosemite. I really can't describe how amazing that place is. I can't wait to go back. In some other life, I will have to turn into a hippie and spend a few years hanging out in Yosemite.

On other thing of note...if you ever go to Yosemite from Utah, take the 6 rather than I-15 or I-80. We took the 6 all the way from California to Santiquin, Utah. It turns out that nobody uses that highway...the speed limit is 70 most of the way and it is pretty much an open, straight, highway with no cops. We honestly went about 35 - 50 miles at one point without seeing another car. You could probably do the trip in just over 10 hours.

Newport Beach

I strongly believe that I am a Southern California girl at heart. I love the beach and no beach in Cali is better to me than Newport. We had a great trip with the family. We spent a lot of days digging in the sand, Skim boarding, and soaking up the rays. Beck loved the beach and was happy to drag his boogie board along, looking for shells with his GG, and playing in the sand. It was fun to be with my whole family. Especially for Jon and I because it turns into a nice kid break with all the great help that we receive. We all have a great time together. Thanks Mom and Dad for the great trip. I think Beck will remember this trip for a while because he has me keep playing the O.C theme song California. I tried to change it to Utah but he did not like that too much.

Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain is my Magic Kingdom. I love the thrill rides. Beck may be taking after me because he loves the rides and likes to go on roller coasters. Although one log ride was enough for him. We forced him to go twice and that pretty much did him in. They have the best rides.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Home At Last

Baby I recovering from his Vacationing.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Companies - Bad and Good

Here is my experience:

The Bad
I have held a lot of credit card throughout the years, but Citi has definitely been the worst. Their customer service is horrible. Last August, our family was on a cruise and we missed our scuba booking with Blue Island Divers in St. Thomas (another horrible company). Despite MasterCard regulations that say a merchant cannot charge a cardholder until a service has been provided, Blue Island Divers charged us full price for each one of our bookings. I disputed the charge through Citi, and learned just how terrible their customer service is in the process. I will never do business with Citi in any form again.

We have a gas oven from GE installed in our home. It is one of their higher-end models and only a couple years old. A few months ago, Jess was playing with the kids in the other room while something was cooking in the oven and she heard a loud explosion. She ran into the kitchen to find that the oven glass had shattered into a thousand pieces. We called GE and they refused to do anything about it because the warranty was only for 1 year. I understand that it is out of warranty, but this type of failure seems like a manufacturers defect to me. Given the nature of the failure, I thought GE would respond...but they pretty much just washed their hands.

The Good
American Express
Let me be the first to say that I don't think any credit card company should necessarily be classified as "good;" however, if there is one, it would be American Express in my opinion. When Jess and I were first married, we splurged our savings on a red recliner that we found at Costco. We probably should not have bought it given our situation, but we did it anyway. The day we decided to buy it, Jess and I went to the Orem store and some lady had the last one on a cart and she was deciding whether to buy it. Jess and I literally followed her around the store for over an hour hoping that she would decide against buying it. The funny thing is that after about a half hour, we noticed there were 2 or 3 other people doing the same thing. Anyway, the lady ended up buying it and Jess called every Costco in Utah trying to find the recliner in stock. The only one we could find was in St. George. Jess had her Grandpa go pick it up and her cousin Travis brought it home the next weekend. The only problem was that Travis didn't tie the chair down. He didn't make it to Leeds before the chair flew out onto the highway. Jess was devastated. Here we had spent our life's savings on a chair and it was in pieces. I think she just cried on her bed for a day straight. Anyway, a day or two later, one of Jess's coworkers suggested that she call American Express to see if they would replace it. We figured we had nothing to lose, so she called. Sure enough, American Express gave us the money without any problem. They even let us keep the damaged chair (which we pieced together and still have sitting in our family room today...just don't look at the back of it). Awesome customer service.

Costco is awesome. Great customer service...great store.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Baby I

Our little angel boy who is always happy to go with the flow. We love his sweet personality and his darling smile. Baby I we love you!