Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Almost there...

Since I am still behind, I will try to re-cap as best as possible...

After getting home on a Tuesday morning, I was back in Raleigh by Wednesday night so I could be there Thursday to help Tammy and Chad move into their incredible new home!! It was a lot of fun getting to check out their stuff and help them get it to the new place! Our excitement was a little stunted as Jason was getting some calls into work (which he was supposed to have off by the way), so I either had to play Home Alone all day, or head off to the "work place" with my sweetheart. Any guesses on which it'll be....yup, you got it; off on a temp job I go!

What an interesting adventure working with Jason turned out to be. We ended up having to work two days and cover several (what were probably supposed to be) "easy" jobs. Jason claims I was a big help, but really I have realized we just like each others' company...even when we are completely useless :) I think it was good for our relationship to see what it is like for Jason at work each day, even though we didn't have near as many jobs and the boss man wasn't there; being a part of that definitely helps me to be more aware and understanding of what type of conditions he may have had to endure while at work and why he may or may not be in a particular if he can just go to school with me one day (if I ever get a job!) and experience the difficulty of teenagers! Over all, "Take Your Girlfriend to Work" Day turned out quite well and I even got Cold Stone icecream and an under-the-table bonus for working so hard. (By the way, this was more than I had worked at my actual job in the last 2 yay! for a generous boyfriend!!)

Because we worked so hard at earning money the past few days, we decided we would splurge a little and took our money to the Farmer's Market Saturday morning for a concoctive $5 meal. I have to say, this was probably my favorite part of the weekend (well besides making and eating the $5 meal that is!) After traversing the ENTIRE NC Farmer's Market, (except for the seafood portion that is, I don't know what he has against our little marine friends) we decided we would create a stir-fry entirely from food we could buy here! We got fresh steak, yellow squash, carrots, broccoli, and 0zucchini. Can you believe we actually made it under 5 bucks; ha, heck yeah!! Wash the veges, chop 'em up, toss 'em into the pan, throw on some seasoning, sizzle..sizzle..sizzle and WHAMY CABLAMEE...magnifico! It was soo freaking good!
I love that we cook together. Cooking is one of my favorite things to do.

I also finally got to meet some of Jason's friends too...hehehe

My first encounter was playing Frisbee Golf; it was my first time playing and it was a blast!!! Jason took some video, but he's being a hog so I don't have them to share right now...hopefully I can post them later! To join us on our fight to pro Frisbee Golf were Russ and Aimee! From what I gather, Russ and Jason have pretty much grown up together and hanging out with this group was quite a blast! Aimee and I decided to step back and let the boys dominate for our teams (we had to play as couples because Jason and I discovered early on that our competitiveness is very bad for our relationship...Settlers...Hot Dice...doesn't really matter the game;) we didn't want to show them up...ha! We did have a slight frisbee mishap, but that was totally because we had a rogue frisbee; it had nothing at all to do with Russ' throwing skills...Nothing!! It was a great way to spend the evening.


Next came Jason's birthday, which I was lucky enough to get to attend. I can't even begin to touch what Christy had to say about this, but here's what I really liked...First off, we were at Tammy's house (hehehe!)...Second, almost the whole fam was there...Third, alright I forgo the numbering, we had an awesome cake Jason's mom found that said "Happy Birthelay." I think Jason's is the only family that, instead of asking for a discount on this cake, would actually be pumped about buying it! I got to dance around with man ;) We played the whipped cream which my arm became very sore until Jason, so lovingly, shared with me the "right" way to smack my arm into my hand and make whipped cream em, I mean soar into the air! Christy and her stellar photography skills got some amazing pictures of Jason and me, so those are the only ones I will steal, basically because I really love them!

After YW Camp (info is forthcoming) I headed back up to Raleigh to hang with the boy and we met up with some more of Jason's friends for quite a treat. Even though I was fighting to finish 3 final papers that were due for my 2 Summer classes, I still managed to enjoy the view on a giant outdoor movie screen. Out in Henderson there is a Drive-In Movie place and we got lucky enough to go to a double feature!! Toy Story 3 and Prince of Persia, all for $6 bucks- now that's what I'm talking about! Toy Story 3 was a great wrap up for a childhood favorite, but Prince of Persia left a little something to be desired. Even so, it was great getting to drench ourselves and fellow movie-mates in bug spray, set up our camp chairs (and camp chair foot rests, thanks to Martinez!), and blast the crowd with Jason's GIANT speaker- don't worry, we paid for this later :(

After the movie we headed out to Tammy and Chad's; as I'm sure you can tell we are really falling in love with this place. They let us camp out there for the next couple nights and ride to our hearts' content on Saturday! It is amazing to me how a month ago, I had never been on a horse and now it seems like I am riding every few weekends. I love it! Between Tammy, Chad, and Jason I am beginning to pick up on a lot of useful tips; Jason even made me put the saddle pad and saddle on Easy all by myself. Jason took me off exploring for hours and we found some amazing places; below you can see some of what we found...

Once the adventuring was done for the weekend and we prepared to head back, we discovered an unfortunate reality: the Jetta's dead battery. Oh, and what the ordeal this turned out to be. Since Chad had already left for work, we had no car to jump Jason's from...but did find some battery packs with which we could jump the car- or rather should be able to jump the car. After a few fails on that one the oh so friendly neighbor lady stopped by because she thought we lived there and she wanted to make sure we weren't going to shoot her dog if it got loose hahaha and "jumped" the Jetta after having to get her, less than sober, husband and turn off the amp to their radio. What a way to start a Sunday morning :)

After another astounding weekend with my boyfriend, I headed home for Father's Day with my awesome dad and fam and got to congratulate my little bro Mason on getting his Duty to God Award. Yay!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Very Behind...

Well we have been up to a lot lately with the summer in full swing (and me still working pretty much zero) busy, in fact, that I have not had time to keep track of it all. Here is a little dose of what has been going on:

Croatan National Forest/ Cherry Point Air Show/ Fort Macon/ Maritime Museum/ Beaufort


While waiting to get on base, we just started driving around; I am pretty familiar with Havelock, but Jason isn't so he pulled out the GPS and just started finding bodies of water on it and driving towards them. Well, I have driven by the signs a million times for the Croatan National Forest, but am normally on my way to the beach and so I have never stopped to explore. Come to find out, there are some amazing things right off the highway and we found this great spot that comes out on the sound and has a freshwater stream that actually feeds out into the cool! Here's a look at us basking in the beauty...

While we were there, we were just hanging out sitting on the beach and here come the Blue Angels, flying overhead. They went over a few times, I guess warming up for their show the next day. This is one of the videos Jason got; nothing like a private show!

Air Show:

So we, after some hardships, met Alicia and Paul on base for the Air Show a couple of weeks ago. There was some really cool stuff that we couldn't really get pictures of, like demolition explosions for instance, but we had a great time getting to do the couple thing and Jason even managed to cut a deal on some funnel cakes (a big favorite of mine!) We are just sitting there and he looks at me and says, "I want to buy you a funnel cake" and then goes in search of one of the magic ATM's that popped up in the middle of the air strips :) Ah, what an amazing boyfriend! Here are some of things we got to explore while we waited for the show to start...

...right before he launched off ...what a beast of a hummer
the top, crazy pup!

Fort Macon:

After illegally camping on the beach (which was not the most fun by the way) and waking to the beautiful scenery, we headed off to Fort Macon. Jason hadn't been here in years and it had been couple years for me too, so we decided to spend Saturday in the area. Thankful for Jason's camping stove, we ate beef-aroni for breakfast (so yummy!). Then we situated Jasper in as cozy and shady a manner as possible (since apparently dogs are not allowed at the Fort) and even hung towels on the outside of the car as sun barricades for the poor pup. Now off to the Fort! Even though it has only been like 2 years since I was last here, things have changed a LOT! There is a whole new visitors center and some new stuff in a few of the exhibits...odd how fun history can be. Here are a few of our impressions of life at the Fort in days past...

Maritime Museum:

I had also been here before, but only once and I thought it would be a fun addition to our day after Fort off we went! Museums are always interesting to me, because every time you go, there are different artifacts they have brought in or taken out. We definitely found some cool stuff to play in and after taking our submarine picture (and thanks to the children taking pictures before us, getting "The Yellow Submarine" stuck in our heads) decided to make the sub into an impressionist piece of art with us detailing the progression of a tadpole into a frog. (Not really lol, but that is definitely what the pictures remind me of... Oh and the first one is a real sub...unlike the bright yellow one ;)


A beautiful little coastal town, Beaufort is an interesting place full of boats and country stores, homemade food and homemade crafts. After trying on fun hats and shell rings, we decided just to stroll around. We found, to my extreme excitement, a book mobile parked on a street corner and I didn't even have to coerce Jason into letting me check it out! So, with me being in Heaven, at this moment we start exploring and all the books were either $0.50 or $1.00; it was kind of a good thing I was broke and left the little money I had in the car...until it happened. I am standing there, perusing the shelves and then I see it:
My beloved, Tuesdays with Morrie...
Only my most favoritist book of all time, sitting there, on the shelf of rejected books, for only a dollar (it is hardback)...I spin around so fast I don't know what to do and exclaim, "Jason, its my favorite book!" After a second of arguing, off he sprints, back to the car to collect any loose change (he was supposed to be getting my wallet, mind you) and back with the saving grace of pennies, nickels, and dimes he comes (don't worry he drove back instead of running all that way again!) So my boyfriend bought me one of the BEST presents I have EVER gotten and all for just a dollar (although I kind of think he scraped up the change so it would quit jingling in the car as he drives); ah -- he is absolutely amazing!

Cookout/ Strawberry picking/ Motorcycle Rides/ Checking out Tammy & Chad's new house/ Apartment Hunting

I don't have pictures from a lot of these, but either way, it was an amazing weekend!


So Jason's sister Christy's husband Ryan (lol) just got a new job, so to celebrate we headed out to their place to surprise Ryan after his last day at his old job!! It was a ton of fun getting to meet a lot of Jason's extended family and even his brother Adam and his family, since I hadn't met them yet!! I got to help Christy get stuff together before everyone got there and even got to play with her girls some! All of Jason's nieces and nephews are crazy cute and a ton of fun!!
We grilled out, played outside, and had a bonfire. I'm beginning to think that Christy and Ryan don't have people over without having a bonfire and I am definitely in support of that!!! (To the left is a picture of the last bonfire we went to there.) Jason's mom wasn't there because she was spending her birthday weekend with some friends, but everyone else near by seemed to be there. I am glad that so many of his siblings live close, but it definitely makes me miss my brother Duane and his family out in Arizona. I would love to have them 30 minutes down the road like most of Jason's are for him...maybe one day!

Strawberry Picking:

This was quite the day! We actually got up early and headed out because the website for DJ's Farm said that it is best to pick strawberries in the morning, when it is still cool. I'm not sure how we got tricked into thinking that even the morning during a NC summer could be cool...but we did, so off we went! We decided to take the motorcycle because I was still getting used to riding at this point and we figured we wouldn't get too many strawberries, so we could just stick 'em in the saddlebags and be on our way! As it turns out, the bucket (yes that huge thing in the picture) was the better deal, so we went with that. And yes, we somehow made it fit in the saddlebag!!! It took us forever to pick strawberries. This was partly because we kept taking pictures, and partly because of some of the other tips DJ's website gave us...for example picking only those that are 3/4 red, so that they have time to ripen and will not spoil right away. These are some of the tips we followed, but they have a gazillion more...

Strawberries that are picked when three-fourths red will develop full color and flavor in one to two days at 70°F. Berries that are only half-red will seldom have the flavor, texture, or size of berries that are more mature when picked.

The best time to pick the fruit is early in the morning when the berries are still cool. The fruit should be picked with the stem attached. This is accomplished by grasping the stem between the thumb and forefinger and pinching it off. Pulling and snapping, but leaving the cap on, is all right if the fruit is to be used immediately.

It is best to use or process the berries soon after picking, because fruit that is stored for several days will lose some of its fresh, bright color. It will also shrivel and generally deteriorate in quality. For best storage, keep strawberries at a temperature below 40°F and at a relative humidity of 85 to 90 percent.

Overall, it was an awesome time and we found a lot of great strawberries! Later that night, I made my family's Strawberry Shortcake for is one of my favorite family recipes :) I love how such simple activities become adventurous when you have someone to accompany you!

Motorcycle Rides:

So a couple months back now, Jason bought a new motorcycle (and I am proud to say that he got it from a guy out of Greenville--see honey, Greenville is good for something!!) and he has had me addicted since day one! I had never actually ridden a motorcycle before, but I absolutely love it...this seems to be a trend with new stuff Jason has me try! His gorgeous 2002 Honda Shadow is quite the bike (the after-market Cobra exhaust helps a little) and I love riding with him! When we are in Raleigh, and its not raining, we take it pretty much everywhere. On this particular day we gave Jasper his first ride...needless to say, we didn't make it far before he was trying to crawl around because he was so excited, so we had to forgo that one this time around and save him for our next trip to Tammy's -- withOUT the motorcycle!

Tammy & Chad's:

Okay so there will definitely be more on this place as we have already done a ton more stuff here, but this place is AWESOME!!!!! It is basically everything I have ever wanted in a house except that it is missing a classic wrap-around porch...other than that: EVERYTHING! There is a lot of room and this place even has what we think used to be slave quarters, no joke! Amazing! More on this later :)

Apartment Hunt:

Well this is pretty much sucky, but it was fun none-the-less. After church Sunday, since we were in Garner, we rode by an apartment we had found online and that I was interested in possibly living in if and when (cross your fingers, spin around three times, and spit over your shoulder) I get a job with Wake County Schools. Unfortunately, the place I was looking at doesn't seem to be in the greatest area, but it was fun to go and look and it brought to my remembrance the fact that I won't be able to rent from anyone, unless personally, without a job because they are going to want proof that I can pay them...this is going to get interesting. How to find a place to live when I most likely won't get hired until middle of July/ beginning of August and my lease ends July 31st?! Definitely going on Faith with this one.

We've still been busy so:

Coming soon...Helping Tammy and Chad move/ "Take Your Girlfriend to Work" Day/ Frisbee Golf and much more!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Memorial Day...

On Thursday I headed out to Raleigh, as usual, for my alternating weekends there...I got there in time to let Jasper out and wait for the rumble of a motorcycle to turn in my direction. Sadly, I was back in the car again before the rumbles came; Jasper hoped in to tag along and off I was to meet up with Jason for a rather fun experience!! When I got to his mom's house, he was already cutting the grass (we decided we would try to surprise her by getting it done before she got home because she had been working and watching grand-kids all day!) Upon my arrival, I was given two alternatives: trim bushes, cut grass. Well, the way I saw it was that either I could massacre the bushes, or massacre the yard- I decided the grass could be fixed easier than the bushes which may have to be uprooted in order to spare the yard ;)
Amazingly enough, my fist time EVER cutting grass didn't turn out too bad and we actually finished with all the yard work and "started dinner" before Jason's mom even got home!!

Now, I do slightly consider myself a pretty dang good cook. I will try to cook just about anything that presents itself as edible; however, it would appear that pizza dough trumps my skillz. the sad part is, the dough had already gone through the bread maker and was just waiting for us to plop it on the pan...without sticking...without over-flouring...ha! Luckily, Sister Edwards did get home before we finished that one because our homemade Hawaiian-style pizza turned out amazing. (So amazing in fact that we ate almost the entire pizza.)

After getting to play with Abilene and Coyer some we headed off to Jason's to be sure he was packed and ready for CAMPING the next day!!! I mean really, what holiday is complete without a camping trip..?

We headed out around 10am the next morning with Jetta packed full: tent, camping chairs, tarps, backpacks, sleeping bags, food (yum!), Jasper, Kat, Wran, Jason, and me! Somehow we actually all managed to fit and were on our way on time. The drive out to the Morganton area could have been long and boring, but with friends along (and a few competitive rounds of the alphabet game) we had a great time hanging out and getting pumped for the weekend.

Knowing that rain was approaching we were a little nervous about what we would face, especially as Jason has camped in terrential downpours before and was not up for a repeat of that. We decided we would try out a new area we found some awesome pictures of online called "Falls on Steeles Creek." We kind of have a thing for waterfalls! So as we got to the mile marker and turned off the highway, following the directions we had, we hit a split. An unmentioned split that apparently alluded our direction writer. As we picked right Jason inputs a "you know, left kind of looks familiar, like a place I have camped before..." Instead of telling him to turn around, we all just seemed to except the right turn as if the left meant nothing and off we went. At first we were getting a little nervous because we saw lots of campsites, but had seen NO cars. I mean how did all those people get there if they don't have cars?! This didn't stop us from venturing on, so on we went. After driving uphill and then back downhill, passing a flooded road, and many other oddities, we finally started thinking hmm...our directions suck. Luckily, we found the Wilson's Creek Visitor Center in the middle of the woods. "Wilson's Creek? But I thought we were trying to camp on Steeles' Creek?" In we find zero help from the woman running this place in the middle of the woods with "no computer" and "superior knowledge" of all the waterfalls in the area. Dumb. Not even close. We point to the waterfall on the map that we think we are looking for and she tells us, "Oh, no. That is actually Upper Creek Falls." Now I don't claim to be a very smart person, but from everything Jason had said about Upper Creek, it didn't seem that is was supposed to be where this lady was telling us it was. Thank goodness for map legends, I mean geez. She did give us some usefull information to keep in mind though: flash flood warnings for the whole area that night. There comes that rain we keep hearing about...

Turning around, we decide to go back and take the left (hm...only 45 minutes later!) As we get back on course, Jason begins recognizing the area as a place he had camped about 5 years before with his dad and also the place that he has told me about many times as having absolutely amazing waterfalls. Me= so pumped!! Well, ironically enough we actually ran into Jason's dad on the way in, so I got to meet him and get the final confirmation that this is the place Jason was thinking of!!

Jason and I learned a little lesson on our last camping trip and decided that even though we weren't exactly sure where we would be camping along the trail, we should hike with our packs and a few other small items so that when we found a place we could leave them and wouldn't have to hike back from the car twice to bring in all of our gear. Packs on; exploring time! We discovered very quickly that the trail was lined with poison ivy, so the boys taught us all about jewelweed.
If you take this and ball it up to get the juices and rub it on yourself, it apparently keeps the oils from the poison ivy from causing a reaction. Jewelweed became like my new best friend! As we continued our hike, it started getting a little late and we we were not finding any of the places our directions were telling us to go in order to get to our amazing falls we wanted to camp at. I'm not sure why we didn't abandon these directions after their first failed attempt, but I guess we were trying to give them the benefit of the doubt! Since we needed to set up camp before the dark set in, the boys left Kat and me on the trail and they ran out in separate directions to try to find a nice camping spot. I swear they were gone for like 30 minutes and what did they have to show for it? Nothing! Time to turn around, we were getting good at this about now. On the way back down the trail we stopped at a fork we had noticed on the way up and went down to explore. what did we find? A campsite! The only problems were that the campers before us had left food so it was gross and it had "itty bitty living space." At this point, we decided we don't really have an option so we drop our packs and sleeping bags and head back to the car to bring up the rest of our gear. On the way back to the car we actually found...a better campsite! Yay! As we made our way back to the car though, we had to pick up the pace because it started thundering. All we could think was "flash flood!" Tent, tarps, chairs, and who knows what else in hand, all four of us take off toward our campsite to beat the rain. Jason and Wran beat Kat and me there so they dropped their stuff and divyed up jobs. When we got there Kat ran up with Wran to grab our gear we had left at the other, less attractive campsite and Jason and I began our scrambling to beat the rain. First a bed of leaves under the tent for water drainage, then an extra top in case the tent bottom lets in water, rain fly next, then tarps on top. By this point Kat and Wran were back with the gear, this got tossed in the tent and they hastily began other set-up.
We were able to get tents and tarps up,

firewood cut and collected (I wish I had a pic of Kat and me sawing away), fire ring built with fire started,
Jasper tagged in case he wandered off,
and dinner started...
...but the rain never came!!

Tired from the adventuring, we decided to for-go s'mores for the night and hit the tent. Up early the next morning, we started with some showers, a water run, and breakfast!!

Brrr...nothing like ice cold mountain water to wake you up!

Good thing Jason has a filter, I would have hated to hike water in

IHOP has some competition ;)

After breakfast, we washed up the dishes and headed to the creek to start our hike upstream to find the falls. Jasper even followed along on the hike, he is quite the adventure dog and only had to be rescued a few times!
So I get accused of babying him...

But his dad gets to do this:

On this one he was definitely stuck though...

We ended up finding some amazing sights along the way...
a cave... swimming holes.... small "falls..."

and just when we thought about turning around, Jason found these:

It ended up being an awesome trip and even though we got a little mixed up on the way back to camp...and hiked barefoot through "trails" for miles, it was all worth the bonding time!