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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pictures from Thanksgiving in Oregon

I'm giving Elissa and Emma their good morning hugs. It was the first time I saw them because they were asleep when Jake and I arrived.

Emma is such a goof, and look at the size of little Elissa's smile! They are so beautiful!

Thankgiving Dinner at The Meadows in the Sunriver Lodge. Emma wanted me to sing her nursery rhymes...so I did.

Check out the view behind us!

More pictures of the view from Sunriver Lodge.

This is a picture of one of the golf courses, a bike trail, and the Deschutes River.

These pictures don't really give the gorgeous view justice.

You can see how cold it was in this picture, since the water is frozen.

This is such a beautiful picture of Justin and Deena's family!

Emma and Elissa snuck into the picture

This picture really depicts the highly energetic nature of our gathering. We are such the partiers!

I thought this was adorable. Elissa and her dad fell asleep snuggling.

Emma being silly while eating cereal.

She is so precious!

Absolutely love this picture! Emma is rocking her little sister to sleep...so cute!

Emma was stroking Elissa's hair, so sweet.

This time Emma fell asleep on her daddy

Jake showed Elissa how to do the monkey face and she continued to show it periodically throughout the weekend. She loves to laugh and make others laugh with her.

The family out to dinner at the Pine Tavern.

Thanksgiving in Oregon!

For Thanksgiving Jake and I took a long weekend and flew to Oregon to celebrate it with my family. Mom and dad rented a house in Sunriver, one of our families favorite vacationing spots. We had to fly into Portland and then drive a little over 3 hours to central Oregon where Sunriver is located. We had a few minor difficulties trying to retrieve the car we rented, one worker from another rental company was rude and wouldn't tell me where to pick up the shuttle to our car. We ended up missing the shuttle, but another one showed up in about 15 mins.

The drive was beautiful, especially around Mt. Hood. Even though it was dark outside, the moon was out and you could see the lighter blue silhouette of the mountains. I was a little nervous weaving through the forest near Mt. Hood because there was snow on the ground and we couldn't tell if there was much ice on the road. It was really funny though....When we were driving I said "Well, at least it is a clear night with no clouds in the sky, that was a blessing", and seriously 1 minute later when we came around the mountain and started to descend...we noticed a huge cloud we were heading straight into, haha. Thankfully there was no precipitation with it, but we thought that was kinda funny. When we pulled into Sunriver mom was outside the house down the block waving us in, she was so excited! And we were too! It was about 11:30pm when we finally made it to the house. Justin and Deena were asleep, but woke up to come greet us when they heard the commotion. We stayed up late talking, as well as eating pizza and potato wedges.

The next day was Thanksgiving! We went out to dinner at The Meadows in the Sunriver Lodge. It was a really good dinner...not quite as good as what the padres cook up, but still tasty. The view was gorgeous. Jake got really excited about the golf course and mentioned we should invite his parents up with my parents in the summer to Sunriver to get together and golf. We then went home, watched some football, played some card games, swam in the hot tub, and just hung out as a family. Jake and I played Go Fish with Emma, and then we played Hearts with dad, Justin, and Deena.

Friday we went to the High Desert Museum. I was very impressed with the expansive and detailed museum they had. Emma and Elissa loved looking at the fish and animals. Mom and dad also walked into a replica of what appeared to be their childhood home. All the appliances including the refrigerator, oven/stove, TV, and sewing machine looked just like what they had in their home as children. That was really neat to see. Following the museum we went out to a yummy dinner at Red Robin and quickly took Jake on a tour around Bend, OR. Then we headed home so Jake wouldn't miss his BSU vs Hawaii football game he had anxiously anticipated. The game was a bit of a disappointment, to say the least. Hawaii got away with passing the ball every play except 2 and won the game. I was impressed with Jake and how well he took this loss, even though I know it broke his little heart. That night Justin and Deena bought a couple of games: Risk and Uno. We played Uno that night which Emma was really good at and went to bed.

Saturday was our last full day in Sunriver. We started playing Risk in the morning and it lasted until later that evening without even finishing the game. Turns out I'm not very good at global domination...I got knocked out of play within the first hour. But we still had a good time. We also watched the BYU football game vs Utah. BYU didn't play that well, but we ended up winning the game in the last quarter with only a minute and 30 sec to do so. We were jumping up and down and giving high fives all around when we scored the winning touchdown. It was nice to have at least one of our teams win their game that weekend. That night we went to our favorite restaurant in Bend called Pine Tavern. Then we headed home and played and watched TV until late that night.

Sunday morning we left Sunriver at 8am. It was sad to say goodbye to my family, but good to know I will be seeing them in a few short weeks for New Years. It was amazing to see how grown up our little nieces have become. Especially little 20 month old Elissa. She isn't a baby anymore! And she is soooo fun to watch because she loves to laugh and make others laugh. Jake taught her the monkey face and she did it the remainder of the weekend....Soooo cute! Emma was just precious too. I love that she loves me =)

The drive home was fun. For some reason Jake didn't want to listen to music, so we ended up talking the whole way to Portland, which really made the time go by. One funny thing that happened on the way home was when some muddy water sprayed onto our windshield. Jake forgot there was no wiper fluid in the car so it smeared it all over the windshield and then quickly froze. We could hardly see a thing! But we were very blessed when just half a mile down the road, in the middle of nowhere, there was a Chevron where we could clean the windows. We don't know how we could have gone any farther, that was really neat to see the hand of Heavenly Father in our lives that day.

It wasn't difficult finding the hotel to drop our car off at, but it was difficult trying to find a gas station to fill up the tank before we turned it in. After 20 minutes of Jake driving down a road to nowhere he finally listened to me and turned around to ask for directions to a gas station. There was actually one across the street, but unfortunately it was closed! So we drove to the hotel, asked for directions again, and finally filled up the tank. We rushed to the airport, but to our surprise the airport was not busy once again! We had time to eat lunch and rest before we boarded the plane. While we waited for our plane we found out we were flying through Boise. Jake's brother Brandon was flying into SLC from Boise at the same time, so I had Jake call him to see if it was the same flight number. And it was! It couldn't have worked out more perfectly since we were driving him home from the airport and he was on the same flight as us. We got home around 7:30pm and we were pretty exhausted from the trip, but we did some studying before going to bed. It was a very fun weekend with the family. I am so glad we were able to spend it with them, but sad that it went by so fast.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stressful Week for Gretchen

So this past week has been quite stressful for me. Last weekend I started getting stressed out about everything I had to do this week....so my immune system decided to do me a favor and quit fighting for me! I got the flu.....and let's just say I was miserable. I had 5 exams and a paper to write, and I could hardly do anything because I felt so sick. However, I not only got everything done, but done well! I am so amazed at how blessed I was despite my illness. I know I couldn't have completed everything I had to do as well as I did without the help of Heavenly Father. It's great to have those testimony builders that prayer really does work and that Heavenly Father is watchful of our every need. Maybe I got sick so I could learn that lesson, haha. I know Heavenly Father was watching over me and walked me through this tough week. It reminds me of my favorite poem which I'm going to share with yal (if anyone really reads this, haha).

Footprints in the Sand
by Mary Stevenson

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was
walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the
sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he
noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one
belonging to him, and the other to the Lord. When
the last scene of his life flashed before him, he
looked back at the footprints in the sand. He
noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed
that it happened at the very lowest and saddest
times in his life. This really bothered him and he
questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, You said that
once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all
the way. But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life, there is only one set
of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed
you most you would leave me." The Lord replied,
"My son, My precious child, I love you and I would
never leave you. During your times of trial and
suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it
was then that I Carried You."

I guess the reason why it reminds me of this past week is that when I got really sick I questioned why, of all the times possible would He let me get sick now? But looking back, I know He was watching over me, and carried me through this small trial in me life.