Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Epic Camping Trip

Due to the fantastic nature of this past weekend, I will let the pictures do most of the storytelling.

*pause for dramatic effect*

Welcome to Yosemite 2011

The first afternoon we set up camp with our brand new tent!

We were camping with Jon's family and we're all big readers,
so we spent the evening reading in the forest sun...

The funniest story was definitely the next morning though when I was reading near the campfire and a HUGE spider came crawling across the pages. I freaked out and jerked my book with the intention of shaking the spider off, but instead my book went flying into the campfire flames! I sat there stunned for a split second while Jon's lightening quick reflexes went into action and saved my book from a scorching death. Luckily it was hard back, and the words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez were spared with only a little discoloration on the edges and soot on the cover to attest to it's harrowing near death experience. Close call.

That day we went hiking through the giant Sequoias...

Jon thought he would be cool by walking across a fallen log that bridged a 20 foot gap in the forest floor. The rest of us, however, realized his foolishness and went the long way around the real trail...

Jon's parents in their element:

Jon was looking pretty shaggy and even got himself sucked into a mud pit:

The scenery was amazing:

And we love hiking together:

disclaimer: we found this heart already carved into the tree, we did not deface nature :)
The natural surroundings of Yosemite really are beautiful:

The Alston Clan
(not pictured: 3 brothers, 2 sister in laws, me, 4 grandchildren, and multiple pet family members)

Aside from the plants, there was also an amazing sky (complete with rainbow) and cute squirrels everywhere you turned:

Beautiful greenery and fallen trees:

And there was also a lot of snow, more hiking...

And really really really big trees...

Can you spot Jon in the picture to the left??

The Faithful Couple is a giant double tree that has one base to share. Pretty awesome.

Of course between the majestic moments, we encountered pristine snow and lots of snowball fights...

That's right, I totally tagged Jon in the back. Caught him completely off guard!

Jon's dad pretended to be aiming at me with his snowball, when really we were all faking out Beth to get her :)

After the hiking, we had foil packs for dinner...

Jon's dad hates foil packs so he made his with chicken and fresh rosemary.
Bethany made us awesome dutch oven peach cobbler for dessert:

The next morning we had dutch oven sausage, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions
cooked with scrambled eggs for breakfast:

Then we moved all of our things over to a new campsite (long story)
and set off on our hike to Yosemite Falls:

We stopped at the lower falls because we did not have enough daylight left for the full trail (even though that had been the original plan)

With a brief stop here by the river for lunch:

And then it was off to Mirror Lake, where the mountain lions use trees as scratching posts:

The trees were all in bloom:

And the whole trail itself was just gorgeous. I even found a handsome man hiking around in a blue shirt that let me take him home with me!

They even have horse tour groups there near Mirror Lake. I know that it made Beth miss horseback riding since she owned 2 horses growing up.

That night back at camp we roasted hot dogs for dinner (mmmmmm) and unfortunately our plans to make s'mores were dashed because someone forgot to bring graham crackers... Jon however was not to be denied his roasted mallow and melted chocolate, so he used the leftover hot dog bun we had to make a s'more sub sandwich. I have to admit, it was pretty delicious.
Jon's dad got these pictures of us chowing down:

On our last morning, we packed up camp and went into the valley
one last time to check out Bridal Veil Falls:

Can you see half dome way back there behind us??

We weren't able to get any closer up pictures because even with wearing ponchos we were COMPLETELY drenched by the time we got right up to the base of the falls. It was quite an experience though!

After 3 hours of driving home wet and cold and playing trivia games and angry birds, we made it home to a hot shower and were reunited with our pup :) I do love camping, but there is something to be said for being home and sleeping in your own bed.

Hopefully there will be more camping trips in store for us in the near future, although this Summer is jam packed with adventures, shenanigans and other such debauchery. I'm sure we'll have a lot more new and exciting things to blog about soon!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Mother's Day

Last Sunday we spent time with my family in Loomis. Jon's parents and sister were in Flagstaff visiting our brother and sister in law and their kids.

I tried to make sure to get a picture with each of my family members (thanks to Michelle for letting me take over her camera!)

Oh Jon and his train robber mustache...

Uh, can you tell he's my dad or what?

My mommy! I got her a snow globe of the Jefferson Memorial from DC.

We had a dinner of chicken grilled on the BBQ, fruit salad, pasta primavera salad and then Jon and I made this Baked Alaska Cake for dessert:


The Bailey Girls :)

Happy Mother's Day!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It Finally Happened

I went one whole month without posting anything on this blog! and it wasn't even on purpose :) We have just been so dang busy! Let's catch up:

The month started with a wonderful general conference! It was a good uplifting weekend and really renewed my attitude about doing things that matter in this life and not wasting time on pointless frivolities.

Next we had Jon's birthday!!

"Imma so surprised!!"
He turned 26. We had a surprise party for him at Olive Garden (which was almost a disaster in itself). But he was totally fooled :) It was fun to see him enjoy time with friends. I have more pictures but they are taking way too long to load, so this is all you get. I'm glad we can live close to people we know and care about. Thanks everyone for making his birthday so awesome!

(Oh yeah, and I also got him a new pair of chucks... he likes to make this face a lot...)

Amongst other things we did in April: school, work, school, work, school, and more work.

Jon won first place in poetry for the Bazzanella literary awards at Sac State! We are so proud of him :)

We also have had three weddings:

A family sealing:

A maternity session:

And baby pictures:

We also have a senior portrait session this coming weekend. We are crazy! But it's great. We love being able to serve others, spend time with friends and family, and do things that are worthwhile and uplift the lives of those around us, even if we are a little busy most of the time.

On Thursday 4/28 Beth (Jon's little sister) came home from her mission in Tallahassee Florida! (Click here to see the post on her mission blog about that.)

All in all, it has been a good start to spring time for the Alston's! Now if only this California weather would catch up...