Tuesday, July 31, 2012

And then we left.

Texas was a blast. We visited Grandma and Grandpa (Ben was approved!). Got in some good Kaylee time. Spent time with my mom and cat. Ben discovered Academy. We partied with the Van Leeuwen's. I met Ben's aunts--Kathy and Jane. We had Blue Bell. We tried to pack in as many things as we could and made lots of memories.

On the road again.

Texas roads. The beauty ended at the New Mexico border. I looked at Ben and said, "Take me back!"

After we stayed in a not so nice hotel on the ride down to Texas, Ben booked the number 3 rated motel/hotel in Albaquerque for us. And...it was cheaper than the Farmington nightmare hotel. It was significantly cleaner and the perfect stop. 

On the trip back I decided we needed a break, kind of like our Cadillac Ranch excursion. Ben had never been to Four Corners and since it was only 20 minutes out of our way, so we went! Ben was in four places at once!

Both of us at Four Corners! The little stop had changed so much since I went there. Now the Native Americans had little booths to sell there jewelry and souvenirs at rather than little wooden shacks. We walked around and stretched our legs for a little bit. Then Ben and I jumped in the car and headed back to Provo.

While it appears that our trip went smoothly. The way back to Provo was rather exciting...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Using my BYU Education and a Wedding Reception...Texas Style

I was so happy to be at home and to have a little wedding reception at home so I could show off my husband. The reception was at a southern tearoom called The Teapot Depot. I had never actually been there but I did know that their chicken salad was delicious and I had made a few recipes out of the tearoom's cookbook. Also, the last thing that I wanted was a cultural hall reception. It was perfect! We met with the owner Debbie. It just so happened that my mom taught her son--so cool. We planned the menu and showed up on Saturday. We did hardly any decorating except for pictures of me and Ben and the flowers. 

A look inside the fridge.

During my sophomore year at BYU I decided to take a floral design class. Way fun and it hardly felt like a class because we played with flowers for a few hours a week. My mom, Ben, and I went to Costco and bought tons of flowers to make the arrangements. It only took my mom and I an hour and we had such a fund time playing with the flowers.


We're still waiting on the photographer's pictures from the reception but we got a few shots afterwards. My mom helped to throw such a good party. It was perfect!


Me and my super cute husband!

Couldn't help but put this up. Ben is so goofy and makes me laugh all of the time!

Ben enjoyed meeting all of my family and friends and I loved seeing all of the people that make Texas still feel like home.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Space Day

I love learning about space! I hadn't been to NASA for years--I went there on field trips in elementary and junior high but never as a tourist. So much of it had changed! By the time we went to NASA Ben's Aunt Kathy and her three kids drove in from Mississippi. We had fun playing with them!

It's so exciting driving up to the Space Center. There's a rocket that you can see from the road.

We took a tour of where the astronauts train before they go into space. The building the huge. NASA was repainting the walls so a lot of the equipment was covered. I can't imagine painting a spot that big. There were people working in there! I sure wish I could take my own class on a field trip here.

Miss Sarah Jane completely stole the show for the day. She was walking with Ben and she let go of his hand. Ben told her that she needed to hold his hand as we were on the tour. She turned and looked at him and said, "No, there aren't any cars." She's a smart one.

This went into space!

She loves taking pictures!

We went into this huge warehouse building where they had a space rocket and tons of information about the space missions and the astronauts. 

After NASA (and after we got awesome matching NASA shirts) we travelled down the road to T-Bone Tom's in Kemah. My mom and I had never heard of this place even though the Boardwalk is a place that we really like to go. But apparently, we had missed out on a great place. So any Texas people reading this--go there! Ben's fam, Kathy's fam, and Jane's fam (they met us there after driving in from San Antonio) all enjoyed a great food and great ambiance. This eatery was on Diner's, Drive In's, and Dives. And it most certainly did not disappoint.

We had so much food. We had these things called armadillo eggs and shark eggs. They were stuffed peppers with wither bbq or seafood surrounding them. Really hard to describe but not hard at all to eat.

Brotherly Love.

Ben really liked this place.

I really liked this place.

Kathy liked this place.

There was a live band performing--so cool. Utah doesn't really have places like that. The little girls danced and danced and even donated (and took--but quickly replaced) money from the tip jar.

The live band.

After all of the festivities we were all worn out. Ben and I went home and we went straight to sleep. We had fun playing with the little cousins and hanging out with Ben's parents and siblings. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Being home was so so so much fun. Also, it was fun to have Ben's family come down for our Texas reception. I enjoyed being able to experience my home from a tourist perspective. We went down to Galveston and NASA. Two of my favorite places. We loved being able to spend time with my mom and also show the Van Leeuwen's what Texas is all about.

Ben's family--Galveston

I remember going on the Elissa on field trips in school and have looked at pictures of me as a three year old walking on this old ship. However, this time was super cool because I feel like I really appreciated it. The Elissa is a ship that was built in the 1800's that travelled all over the world, was practically abandoned, and then was remarkably restored. Today, this ship is taken out occasionally and sailed--it would be so cool to learn how to do that! The rainy weather did not keep us from exploring. In fact, it was a bonus because we had the whole ship to ourselves!

We went to this delicious place to eat po' boys and shrimp for lunch. "Shrimp and Stuff" is supposedly the place that all the locals go. It's off the main drag of the island. Mom and I had never heard of it but everyone was impressed by the food.

The Van Leeuwen's know how to party! On our way to the beach.

While Galveston is not the prettiest of all the beaches in the world, I sometimes take for granted that there is a beach so close to Baytown. It was fun walking in the sand and traipsing into the water. Ben's family loved it! I remember going there as a little girl on vacations with my mom and searching for shells and swimming. I was so glad that I got to show Ben things that he had seen in my baby pictures. Love this guy!

So happy to spend sometime with my mom!

Jake took off his shoes. Naturally, it called for a celebratory hug. Love that kid! 

All of the Van Leeuwen's in the water!

After the beach we went down to The Strand. After the last hurricane a lot of this area was flooded. Thank goodness Galveston rebuilt because this part of the island has so much character. I was sad to see that they did not have chess or checker pieces out on the square--maybe someday they'll redo that. A cruise ship was docked and we were all tempted to be stowaways.

We went to La King's. This is a sweet shop that I went to growing up. I always remember that during every trip to Galveston we went here and got an ice cream cone (mint chocolate chip was the only flavor that I would eat at the time) and we would sit in the heart shaped chairs and devour the treat. I told Ben that this was a must stop. What makes this places unique is that it actually feels like an old timey ice cream parlor.

Oh, Emma!

I love these chairs. They've been like this forever! There are different sections of the shop. A place for shakes and malts, an ice cream sections, a fudge case, and several cases of sweet treats. Ben and I didn't leave emptied handed. Our loot consisted of chocolate covered sunflower seeds and good ol' pecan pralines.

Absolutely yummy! It was hard to leave. Our eyes were practically glued on all the sweet treats. 

I love the brick in the streets!

Building details. 

Cadillac Ranch

We drove to TEXAS. All 25 hours. We drove it. We left on a Friday and Ben and I drove from Provo, Utah to Farmington, New Mexico. That was the most memorable part of the drive down. First, we stopped and ate dinner in Price, Utah. Ben selected an A&W/KFC combo place. Word to the wise, never stop there. Our food took forever (20 minutes!) and after observing the characters that were making the food I ate very little. Ben surrendered his rights to pick restaurants right then. 

Once we made it to Farmington quickly found our hotel. We went with a national chain because that seemed like the smart thing to do. Mistake. Ben didn't think the room was that bad but I just assume that is because I was the one who found all of the disgusting things. 

Sticky night stands. Dirty towels in the shower. Hair all over the tub. Dusty Counters.

I kind of blame the crazy-ridiculous-white-glove cleaning checks of Fleur di Lis for training my eye to look for dust and dirt and hairs. But seriously--a dirty towel??? Who misses that?

I was ready to pitch a tent and camp than stay in the room (who am I kidding--I'm no wilderness girl). It was late at night and I was partially comatose--so I didn't barge down to the lobby and let the front desk know that the room was gross. I did get my revenge on the "Please let us know how your stay was survey..." and I felt much better. Not that anyone really reads them--but it was a great vent.

Lessons learned on the first part of our first road trip together:
Beth gets to select restaurants
Ben needs to look at trip advisor for hotels to stay at (he's so good at that!)

The next day we drove from Farmington, New Mexico to Little Elm, Texas. We made it a pit stop in Amarillo. We went to the Cadillac Ranch. It's this awesome art-ish exhibition of cadillacs stuck in the ground. And the best part? You can spray paint them. Ben and I loved this little stop. we took a dusty back road to get to the ranch and it definitely made me feel like I was back in home. 

How cool!

We were both very glad to be standing and walking. Sitting is so hard!

We didn't bring spray paint--it wasn't on our packing list. As we were walking a family stopped us and donated their spray paint cans to us. That was all of the fun of the ranch anyways--painting the cars!

Ben at work. It was slightly weird spray painting a car. I kind of felt like a rebel.

B & B

After Cadillac Ranch we drove to Dallas to stay with my cousin Tammy, her husband Kris, and Miss Kaylee. Ben drove all the way from Amarillo to Dallas--it was so nice to be able to enjoy the ride. Ben also had his first Jack-in-the-Box experience (love the tacos--they're so gross their delicious) too. We were so grateful to stay in a home and Kaylee kept Ben and I entertained. Kaylee even told Ben that she liked him--big deal! And a few minutes later she put him in time out. Tough love, I guess. After Dallas we were homeward bound!

Friday, July 27, 2012

We celebrated the 4th

I was finally able to upload all 930 pictures on my camera. It's kind of hard playing catch-up but so fun to remember everything that happened earlier in July. We really enjoyed celebrating our Fourth of July in Kaysville with family. We drove up and passed by one of the many wildfires. It was huge. And there were some points on the mountain that we could actually see flames. Thank goodness the Alpine fire was put out quickly.

Enormous amounts of smoke seen from traveling on I-15

The first parade that we went to was the Farmington Parade. Jake's high school (Davis) marched down the road and then we quickly left to our staked out spot in Kaysville.

Cathy and Gran and Grandpa

Davis High Marching Down the Street. Plastic trombones and all.

The drummer boy. It was so cool to see Matt with his snare drum! He marched in the Kaysville Parade

Emma! She had fun catching all of the candy that was thrown out. I had never seen a parade as well attended as this one.

Jake marched. Also, Jake's band is going to be in the Rose Bowl Parade in January--how cool is that?

I wondered out of the shade to take a picture with my husband. It wouldn't have been the Fourth of July without lots of sunshine and heat.

Matt marched too! As he was marching band parents were giving water to the kids but when they got to Matt, the guy totally missed and it spilt all over him. Like a true band-person he just kept on going.

Ben and his cousin Aspen. I sat with their family (Carl and Shellie) because they had the shadiest spot! 

Someday I'll convince Jake that it's better to smile for pictures. I have a slew of nonsmiling silly ones.

We ended the day with fireworks. This show rivaled Disneyworld. Also we were sitting on a hill and could see two other firework shows from nearby cities as well as ones that individuals were setting off. It was quite the show.