Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our First Christmas Tree

Last year December came and went so quickly in between working and getting my appendix out that we hardly had time to get anything done. This year had been a little more relaxed so we decided to get a Christmas tree for our apartment to put us in the holiday spirit. With the weather being how it has been we aren't sure if we will make it home for Christmas. The last couple of years I've been home we've gone to a tree farm and cut our own and hauled it back home. Skyler and I aren't that adventurous just yet but with some bows, lights, and a few ornaments it turned out pretty good. The finished product....

And with the lights on....

Girls Weekend

The second weekend in November I took a trip out to San Jose to meet up with the Murrays. It turned out to be a great trip even though I was terrified of flying by myself for the first time. I had arranged for Skyler to check me in and walk me all the way up to security then call me and tell me how to get on the plane. :) I flew in Thursday night and then stayed at my in-laws apartment in San Jose.

Friday we went to Los Gatos for lunch at a small shop called Sweet Pea. I had the roasted turkey and sun dried tomato for the main course. Afterward Shawn and I shared some dessert crepes with strawberry,whipped cream, and cream inside. They were really great and filled me up quickly.
Afterward we went shopping downtown. I'd never been to Nordstrom Rack which is now my favorite place to shop. :)

Friday night we went to a dance studio to take some lessons. I think my favorite dance partner was Rob my father-in-law. I had taken a Social Dance class in college and did country dancing in the past, but I think I was a little rusty.

Saturday we went to San Francisco to see some paintings at the De Young Museum. I think I've found that there are artists or paintings I can appreciate and others not my taste.

Then we went to take some pictures/walk around the famous golden gate bridge.

We took a trip down the famous Lombardi Street that zig zags down toward the bay. I was glad that it wasn't too long otherwise I might have gotten car sick!

We spent our last night out on the Pier in San Francisco. We went shopping and I bought a t-shirt from Alcatraz island for Skyler. I also enjoyed the bread bowl and chili we ate on pier which tasted amazing on a cool day.

When we got back to the apartment we had pre-ordered some watch faces and beads to make our own watches. I think mine turned out pretty well.

Sunday I flew back to the snowy mountains of Utah. As soon as I stepped off the plane I missed the California heat and the fun we had.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Last year we talked about going to romp in the field of dreams maze up by the point of the mountain but it never happened. This year would be different though, and the best way to do that, invite some friends, set a date and make sure it happens. We invited our friends Dan and Alexa Larsen along and got ready for a fun and spooky night at the Cornbelly Corn Maze. We set off into the maze and went through its twists and turns. We only went back the same way once but eventually we persevered and got through it. Then we got to everything else Cornbelly's had to offer.They had an attraction called "Creature." A huge inflated monstrosity where you entered it's mouth, worked your way through its bowels, avoiding the frights within, till you safely escaped. Luckily no one was eaten. After a few laps on the tractor race track and jumping on the trampoline we got in line for the Fablehaven Haunted Maze.
The line was rather long so we enjoyed the spectacle of would-be cowboys and cowgirls taking on the mechanical bull. After a time we made it to the front and entered the maze in apprehension. We were instructed that the occupants of the labyrinth could not touch us but they were probably going to get pretty close. The trek through the dark alleys of corn brought scary, creepy, frightening, come-out-of-nowhere people who caught us at every turn. We were lucky to avoid all the chainsaws and shackles and eventually make our way to the exit. It was a lot of fun but my heart was definitely beating a little faster at the end of it.

Labor Day Weekend

Ever since we've been married I've heard nonstop questions from my extended family about when Skyler would go up to my grandparents ranch. After talking with my parents we decided to head up for a 6 hour drive to Driggs, Idaho for the Labor Day Weekend. We had a great weekend visiting with family. Skyler had asked my dad several months ago to take him fishing and was able to go on Saturday. They both claim that they caught fish, but we never saw the fruits of their labor so we aren't quite sure. :) Skyler was also exposed to the Ripplinger family habits of card playing all weekend and actually did pretty well. It was nice to have a break to spend with family.

The only downfall of that weekend was getting sick. On Saturday morning I woke up with the worst sore throat I've had in a long time and huge tonsils. It got progressively worse until Monday morning when I couldn't even talk. We woke up early that morning and drove back to Provo so I could try to see a doctor. The only open place we could find was Instacare so we ended up waiting 3 hours to be seen. The doctor gave me some cough medicine and told me to come back in a couple of days if I wasn't improving. A couple of days later we went back and the doctor decided to test me for both Influenza and Mononucleosis. I headed over to the hospital for nasal suctioning after getting some blood drawn. I've decided that it was THE WORST thing I've ever had done which involved sliding a flexible plastic tube through my nose into my sinuses. I'd done this several times to babies at work so I figured I knew what to expect. 2-3 minutes and several tears later it was over. The next couple of days I waited until the results were in. Turns out I had a high level of antibodies for Mononucleosis which means I've had it before and I'm fighting a reinfection. Great! The annoying part of the whole ordeal is that there isn't anything you can do to treat the infection. I was told to drink water and get some sleep because it can take up to six months for symptoms to go away. Urgh!

Fortuitous Seats

Pretty much every day when I get to school, after my first class, I sit down and look at BYU's newspaper, the Daily Universe, online. On the 4th, a Monday I looked at the paper as usual and saw the weekly ad for the Front Row Fanatics tickets. This weeks competition was a quiz on BYU football. Knowing most of the answers, I quickly filled it out, looked up the answers I didn't know and sent it in. I promptly forgot all about it. Come Thursday however I got a phone call from someone at the Daily Universe saying that I won. I couldn't believe it! I never win anything. We got front row tickets at the 5 yard line, t-shirts, and a date at the big game against San Diego State.
Sitting down next to us was those two guys, dressed up in colonial drab holding up signs saying "In Bronco We Trust" and "Declaration of Independence." We had a lot of fun sitting in the middle of a bunch of cheering fans and being right close to all the action. I think all the yelling I did led to me getting sick the next week. After the Cougs pulled out a win by stuffing San Diego we got to high five the team as they went around the stadium after the game.

Carolina Sun

So we finally found a good use for humidity. Normally I am very opposed to the idea of living anywhere near the stuff and avoid it all costs. Sadly my family decided to locate themselves in a state where it has free reign. However, in the middle of Tiffany and me going to North Carolina we discovered a most useful aspect of humidity. While jetskiing and playing on Myrtle Beach, once you get out of the water, you stay warm. Even on a windy day you still stayed warm as the water in the air was like a moist blanket. This is a lot better than my experiences back west when you get out of the water and are immediately attacked by the chill wind and goosebumps become your constant companion. Besides that though we actually had a good time in Charlotte.

Myrtle Beach is a pretty fun place. The seashells there are very different from the pacific coast shells made mostly of sand dollars and bivalves. The Atlantic had much larger and thicker clam shells as well as a good number of little conch shells (if you can find them). The trip to the beach with Shawn, Chad, Taylor, Emmy, and Bailey proved to be plenty fun and eventful. The ocean water was warm and inviting, a bit too inviting. We never got cold and wanted to stay there forever. I got buried up to my neck in sand, Tiff and I were beat up by the waves on boogie boards, and I think Bailey missed her swimming lessons cause she kept trying to dive into the waves.

My nephews were super cute. They started playing football this year and they look great in their huge helmets and shoulder pads. I saw one of their practices and it reminded me of the two years I played football in elementary school. My nephew Will would have worn his football uniform all day if he could. It's neat to see the nieces and nephews get bigger and older every year. Half the time you barely recognize them after not seeing them for a year. A nice punctuation on the trip was lunch on the last day with the whole family. After some jostling of tables we were able to get all 14 of us near to each other. It's nice to be around family and have every one about. The kids are entertaining to watch and interact with. It will be exciting to have kids of our own some day.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

1 Year Anniversary-Part 2

We arrived at our hotel at Cannon Beach pretty late. The next day we woke up and opened our back doors to the beach. Here are some pictures of our fun there.
We took a trip up to Seaside to visit the aquarium there.

We did eat one dinner in the Stephanie Inn. Here are some pictures of our amazing dinner/dessert.
Here are some pictures of the beach at sunset.

We spent the first two days looking for sand dollars at low tide and ended up finding only one. The last day before we left we decided to try one more time and ended up finding several. I guess it is just luck sometimes.

Skyler did do an impressive job of convincing me that Portland was beautiful and worth moving to. With all the trees, beaches, and sightseeing it was pretty hard to disagree that it is a pretty great place.

1 Year Anniversary part 1

Ever since I've known Skyler I have heard him brag constantly about how amazing and beautiful Oregon is and especially his home town of Portland. Lately this usually leads to a discussion about where we will move after Skyler graduates in 2 years. I've told him that before the whole moving to Portland or anywhere else would happen I'd have to visit and see how "normal people" are in that city. This last weekend was our one year anniversary so Skyler was convinced that the best place to celebrate would be Oregon. This was also his chance to prove how amazing it would be to live here.

We left for Portland at 9am after I'd worked the night before. This makes the longest drive we've ever had arriving in Portland just before midnight after a couple of stops. We stayed in a hotel in Portland for the first night and ventured out the next day to see the sights. Our first trip led us to the Portland Zoo. I think we were the oldest "kids" there. Here are some of the animals we saw.

Next we went to the Rose Garden in Portland. There are several hundred varieties of roses and we spent some time walking around.

That night we ate dinner at Skyler's favorite pizza place called Pizza Schmizza. Skyler was pretty happy about it.


The next day we went to OMSI where they had a bunch of science experiments we could play with. After that we went to the Pittock Mansion to see the view of Portland.

That night we went to see the Portland Temple before we drove out to the beach.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One Year and Counting!

On Sunday we celebrated our one year anniversary and first of many to come. We are blessed to have one another and share so many amazing experiences over the last year. Here are a few pictures of the beginning.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Four years of preparation, well actually five years of preparation went into this day. April 22nd I stood in blue cap and robe ready to graduate with my bachelors degree. My parents and Tiffany's parents came into town to celebrate this day with us. I graduated with a music degree in Saxophone Performance and a minor in Computer Science. I have learned a lot about music over the past several years and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I was lucky to be under the instruction of Ray Smith and many other faculty to help me develop my talents and abilities. I have also enjoyed the opportunities of performing in a wide variety of ensembles. It was a lot of fun and I have learned much about hard work, putting in the time needed to accomplish your goals, and dreaming big.

Now the fun continues in a new direction. I begin the Masters Program in Computer Science. I'm excited to be working with Dr. Ventura and doing music related research. Music is something I always want to have in my life. I plan to always be doing something with it.
I'm glad to have had the support of Tiffany this last year. Being married and always having someone there to support you is a wonderful thing. She has been a great voice of reason and encouragement this last year and I know that I married a wonderful person. I am lucky to have her as my wife.

A thing that made this interesting is that I was asked to perform a solo piece for the College of Fine Arts Convocation. It was the first time a person from the sax studio had been asked to do so and I worked hard to represent us well. You can check out a recording of my performance here (YouTube). I was a bit nervous having to play it memorized but it turned out really well and a lot of fun.
One funny aside to this whole thing is the conditions of my last test and the weather on graduation day. I took my last test on wednesday of finals week and as I walked out of the testing center, elated with the realization that I just finished my last final, it was raining. This wasn't just any rain however, it felt like, smelled like, and seemed like, Oregon rain. You think rain would dampen my spirits on that day but it only fueled them. The next day as well, when I got up in the morning, would you know that there was snow on the ground? I will take all the blame for that happening. The weather knew I was graduating and decided to make it all the more memorable.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Truth.....or April Fools?

These last couple of weeks seemed to fly by and I didn't realize April Fools was here until the night before while I was at work. Another nurse and I were talking about jokes we'd heard of in the past and I remembered one that I had heard about last year. I wasn't sure how well it would work, but I thought I'd give it a try anyway.

During my lunch break I walked across the street and bought a home pregnancy test. Toward the end of the shift I had asked one of the other nurses (about 6 months pregnant) to create a positive pregnancy test. When Skyler came to pick me up I didn't say very much the whole way home. When we got there I asked Skyler to clean the kitchen to create a distraction while I went into the bathroom for a few minutes. When I came back out I put the pregnancy test on the counter and walked away to wait for Skyler's reaction.

It took a few minutes, but finally Skyler walked back to wash his hands and I heard him pause. He then came out of the back room and sat next to me at the table while I pretended to be looking at something on the computer. He put his arm around me and said a couple of things like "that's pretty exciting" and "I know it isn't what we planned on but we can make it." During the whole one sided conversation I started to feel a little guilty, but it was cute to see him try to convince me that it would be okay while also trying to convince himself. I could tell he was totally nervous. After a few minutes I couldn't handle it anymore and burst out laughing. Skyler was completely confused until I asked him what day it was. He sat there for a few seconds and then shook his head at me. We laughed about it for the rest of the day.

On another side note we tried to tell Skyler's mom and sister about our day and ended up somehow convincing them it was real. We found it funny that we expanded our April Fools joke without even trying.

Easter Sunday

Here's just a few pictures of our first Easter Sunday together. We spent the morning coloring eggs and using those to make deviled eggs. They might not look too appetizing, but they tasted better than they looked. We spent the afternoon watching general conference and eating lunch with a couple in our ward. Overall we had a good day.