6/15/16

THE GREAT WALL OF // CHINA


You know when you're a little kid & it's your birthday & all you want to do is immediately open your presents, but your mom says you have to wait until your whole family is there so you don't get to open them for hours? That's how I felt the day we went to the Great wall of China. The day before we were supposed to go our tour guide told us that we needed to leave really early in the morning to get to the wall because it would take us about three hours from Beijing. The next day we did just that, we met up by 6 & headed on our way, I got comfortable in my seat & with Milo sleeping, tried to sleep a bit more too. & then the car stopped. I had thought that we were going straight to the wall, but the guide had other plans, so we stopped at a jade factory to learn about jade, where we ended up spending three hours, then we drove a little bit longer & got some lunch before we made it to the wall. It may not seem like a big deal, but I was so overly anxious to get there that I could hardly stand it, I admit I was getting a bit moody but, I couldn't help myself because I was so excited.

When we finally made it to the wall I was so happy & amazed. It blew my mind to see it in person. There is so much history & it is gigantic. You always are hearing about the Great wall of China & how long it is & how big it is, but seeing it in real life really blows your mind, especially to think how they built it all by hand. There are a few different tourist points on the wall, we opted to visit the Matianyu section which isn't as touristic or crowded, we took a gondola up & a slide down to the bottom! Walking along the wall was really cool, you are so much higher than any of the nearby villages & the greatness of the wall is so much more noticeable. We walked along towards the slide going up & down with the hills, up gigantic steps & through the guard towers. By the time we reached the slide my legs were so shaking from walking on so many steep slopes, haha, so I was pretty happy to have reached our destination. The slide is an alpine slide going down to the bottom where we caught the gondola. You weave between trees & bushes & are up pretty high, it was really fun to go down buuuut, a lot of people riding it didn't really understand how the sleds worked, so there was also a lot of stopping & bumping, haha.

The building of the Wall began in the 700's BC, to keep inner Asia separate, but over different dynasties & rulers the Walls location & formation was changed, but it continued being built until 1911. The sections of the wall that are in the best form & are most often visited we're built during the Ming dynasty between 1339-1644. & it is a UNESCO site :)

6/12/16

CHINA // BEIJING

Beijing has just about everything you ever think of when you think of China. This is where Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, the Hutongs all are, & outside of the city is the Great Wall of China. It is definitely a place you have to go to when you are in China. We we're there for three days & saw it all.

We arrived in Beijing in the afternoon & didn't get back out until the evening which we spent exploring the Hutongs. Hutong's are narrow streets/walkways formed between traditional-styled chinese buildings. Originally the Hutongs were homes & we're built surrounding the Forbidden City based social classes. Now days a lot of the whitings have been torn down, but the ones that still exist have a lot of shopping & places to eat. The hutongs in Beijing we're really fun to see. There we're so many different kinds of shops all over china & i loved seeing them throughout the hutongs & seeing what kinds of food they eat & different street performances.

The next day there we went to Tiananmen Square is ranked as one of the top ten largest city squares, so it's pretty big. The complete square was built in the early 1950's as a gateway to the Forbidden city, but the Tiananmen which is a gateway, was built back during the Ming Dynasty in 1415. From there we entered into the Forbidden city which is enormous. It felt like it never stopped going & what was interesting to me is that it is just the exact same buildings repeated one after another. There are 980 buildings that cover 180 acres within the Forbidden City that acted as the palace for almost 500 years. Going there was really cool because it's one of the big things you learn about in all of your history classes & for me, it's totally one of the images I had in my head of China. Being able to stand in these places that you have always heard about & grow up learning about is one of my favorite parts about traveling, it's such a surreal feeling. Going to the city was also one of the most insane tourist points of our trip & was definitely the most crowded spot we went to.

From there we went to the Summer Palace, which was just about a half hour drive away & was gorgeous. The palace is full of lakes, gardens & multiple palace buildings. Plus, it's a UNESCO World Heritage site, which I love visiting so much! UNESCO said that it is "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of the hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples, and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value". Plus, it has the longest covered walkway which is 2388 ft. long, which is really impressive. The walkway has a beautiful view of the water on one side & gardens on the other & is covered in paintings along the beams & ceiling.

6/8/16

CEDAR TURNS THREE!

This past Saturday we celebrated Cedar's third birthday. The night before his birthday Austin I had put up a birthday banner, displayed his presents with a t.rex balloon & put balloons in his bedroom as a surprise & when he woke up we heard a little "mom..? ba-loooooooooons!" He was pumped, when we walked in the room he was just sitting on his bed looking at all of them. Cedar was even more excited when he walked into the kitchen & saw his t.rex balloon & the birthday banner, it was so cute. When I asked why he woke up earlier than normal Cedar said: "dinosaur party!" he had been asking when his birthday was because he knew he was having a dinosaur party & was so excited.

On the morning of his birthday, after breakfast & presents, I asked Cedar a series of questions & hearing his answers was pretty funny. He's right at that age where he can fully understand me & he actually thinks about his answers, which makes it even funnier when he gives his response.

What's your favorite color? Blue
What's your favorite food? Eggies
What's your favorite snack? Nuts
What's your favorite drink? Chocolate milk
What's your favorite movie? Mickey
What's your favorite animal? Big moose (i was pretty sure he was going to say dinosaurs but I like the creativity in animal choice here.)
What's your favorite toy? Dinosaurs
Who do you love? Mom! Dad! Milo!
Who's your best friend? Johnny & Millie
What's your favorite book? Dinosaur go to doctor

I really can't get over the fact that not only is he three, but that I have a three year old! It feels like just yesterday he was born & totally changed our world for the best. I don't feel like I'm old enough to have a three year old, even though we have two kids, haha, it just seems to crazy. Even Austin was getting emotional about it! I swear he grew up over night, he seems so much older now. Cedar is such a fun little boy & I am loving seeing just what kind of boy he grows into.

6/2/16

MILO // 3 MONTHS

Dear Milo,
Today marks 3 months since you entered this world. You are 13 lbs, 23 inches long with a 17 inch head. You seem like such a big baby to me & you look older than you really are. The last three months have gone by So fast, it blows my mind. I thought my time with Cedar went quickly, but that moved at a snails pace compared to life with you. You are such a good baby, we are so lucky. You are incredibly calm, hardly make any sound besides your adorable coo's & you love to wiggle. Those legs of yours are constantly kicking & you are always squirming around. You are an amazing sleeper, getting in about 10 hours straight at night, which I am so thankful for! You are a pretty smiley babe, you love being talked to & when your belly is scratched you smile & wiggle so much, you also really love Cedar. Whenever Cedar is talking to you or comes around you, you get the biggest smile & it makes my heart melt. You are on the brink of laughing, if I burry my face into your neck you let out your little half giggle. I can't wait till your full giggle comes out, but the little half giggle is pretty cute for now.

In your three months you have already been on a raodtrip to Utah & become a world traveler when I decided that the two of us could handle a trip to China. You are a pro at traveling already, you didn't cry at all on the flights & slept pretty much the entire time which was amazing. I can't wait to see more of your little personality show through. Happy three months baby boy! I love you.

HOLY MOLY ME OH MY, YOU'

I can't believe it's been four years since Austin & I got married, I can remember it all like it was just yesterday! I love thinking about where we are in life now compared to when we got married, & the fact that if someone told me on the day we got married that we would be where we are in life today, I most likely wouldn't believe them. When we got married our plan was to finish up school, camp a lot, rock climb our way around the world, work for a few years & start our family 5 or 6 years into marriage. We wanted to play a lot & have time for each other & be a bit more established before starting a family, which we all know is not the way things went haha. I wouldn't change our lives for the world, I love this unplanned family of mine & wouldn't have it any other way.
The last four years have been the absolute best four years of my life, I can't imagine how my life would be if I hadn't barged into Austin's house that september night 5 years ago & met him. I really don't think I knew I could be so much happier than I was back then, but every year, month, week, day, I am happier & love him more. Super cheesy, I know.

Since being married we have:
Had 2 kids
Moved 5 times, 1 new country/continent, 1 new state, 1 new city
Traveled to 4 continents
Been to 12 countries
& seen 9 states together.
Both graduated from our undergrad
Austin finished is IMBA.

It's been a busy four years & the best four years. I really am so excited to see where the rest of our marriage takes us.