Thursday, October 24, 2013

Week in Camarillo, CA

We flew straight from Bermuda to LAX to be with the Maddux Family for a week. Time with them is always a party. I think we had a planning meeting in the kitchen our first night there to ensure we would cover all kinds of ground. Our first full day was spent at the outlet mall - wouldn't be a trip to Scott's hometown without it. We take FULL advantage of those deals. Scott even found some nice suits for his new gig. We had dinner at Andrea's that night on the marina with family. It was so wonderful to catch up with relatives -- some who we hadn't seen since Christmas or our wedding. 

We even made a special stop at Dave and Linda's to see Scott's cousin, Julia, her husband, Kyle, and their newest addition -- Bentley the Bulldog! And thus continues our obsession with these pups. Twins, I tell you!

The next day was full of visits with family. We did lunch at the country club with John and Laurie and spent time with Grandpa Jim and Bija. I love our chats on the couch with them. 

Later that night, we made our way to Pasadena to see our dear friends, Dave and Karly. They were sweet enough to meet us after their long days at work. We did dinner at La Grand Orange Cafe and ice cream at 21 Choices. Both were fabulous! Also, can I just say how charming Old Pasadena is...I was loving Colorado Blvd. Scott was born there and his family lived in La Canada for a few of his younger years. Beautiful area. D+K we love you! Thanks for showing us around your town!  

Grandpa Jim was on our case all week to get up early and go work out with him. He goes to the country club gym three times a week and does personal training with his ever-so-patient trainer, Pam. I'm telling you, this guy is a hoot -- he reminds me so much of my dad. I swear they both go to the gym for social interaction. When we showed up -- I was shocked to find that he was also wearing a neon yellow shirt. I shouted, "Twinners!!!" but he was less than amused. I mean, the guy was already hard at work on his TRX routine and didn't have time for my jokes. Scott and I had never seen a TRX and didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. Not to worry, Grandpa Jim was happy to show us how it's done. I think we passed his fitness test. Phew! And we were definitely sore the next day. These are some of my favorite pictures of the trip. I hope I have his energy at 80. He is just too cute. After our workout, he introduced us to all of his gym friends. I was dying. This quickly turned into an even larger family affair when John and Laurie showed up to play tennis and Bija came on her morning walk with William. I love these people. 

Later that day, we headed up to Santa Barbara with J+L. They're building a home up there and it was so neat to see how it's coming along. It's close to the Bacara Resort so we had fun checking out the area. We did dinner downtown at Carlito's, a Maddux Family fav. Scott took me there two years ago right after we graduated from BYU, on my first trip to Santa Barbara. I still remember that Mexican meal. I never do forget a good guac.

Scott's good friend, Jessica Needham, got married the week we happened to be in town. We were so thrilled we could make it. Her and Matt make the most beautiful couple. The ceremony and reception were incredible and we had a blast catching up with all of Scott's good friends from high school. It felt like a reunion. Long live the Oaks Christian Class of 2005. 

Not pictured: Later that night, we went over to Scott's brother's home. Austin, Kim, and Mackenzie were kind enough to have us over for a yummy barbecue at their new house. We had so much fun catching up with them, playing with Mackenzie, and seeing their new place! 

The first time I ever visited Camarillo, I was so surprised to see all of the farmer's markets on the side of the road. I had no idea there were so many fruits and vegetables grown right near Scott's house. Laurie gets fresh produce there a few times a week. Talk about convenient. But for whatever reason, Scott had actually never picked his own produce. Seriously? I couldn't believe it. The boy grew up right next to a raspberry field and never even stepped foot on that soil. So, I was determined to change that on this trip. We went to McGrath's Family Farm one morning - a hop, skip, and a jump away. We picked our own strawberries and brought them home for the rest of the family to enjoy. Those berries may be small, but they sure packed a punch. So full of delicious flavor. Thanks for cooperating, babe. 

That night, J+L treated us all to a Dodger game. There's nothing more American to me than watching a baseball game on a summer night. Brings me right back to my childhood. I hadn't been to Dodger Stadium in years so it was fun to think blue for the night - but I still love my Diamondbacks. We ate ice cream and Scott got a classic Dodger Dog. The home team beat the Rockies and Zack Greinke pitched a complete game shut out. It was a good time had by all! 

On our final day in Camarillo, Laurie planned a big family dinner in the backyard. She is quite the hostess! The weather was perfect and the sunset was insane. We enjoyed one last night with wonderful company. Scott even had some friends he hadn't seen in years come over. We chatted for hours outside by the fire. It was a beautiful ending to a wonderful week. Thank you J+L for everything! We loved just spending time with you. You are way too good to us.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bermuda: Part Four

This is the last Bermuda post, I promise. 

This was our final full day in Bermuda. We scootered to Church and enjoyed meeting some of the Bermudian members. We learned that the island is part of the New York, NY South Mission, so missionaries who serve in Brooklyn and Staten Island could be transferred here. Talk about the best of both worlds. I thought that was so neat! 

After church, we made our way to the Bermuda Aquarium Museum & Zoo near Flatts Village. Some of our favorites were the flamingos, lemurs, tortoises, peacocks, and seals. We enjoyed learning about the animals that live on the island.  

We ate lunch near this Hamilton harbor and tried to come up with a plan about how we could live here. I told Scott I could learn how to make great pina coladas and he convinced me he would make a fabulous towel boy. So we've got that going for us.

We both wanted one last sunset on the beach. So we scootered to Southampton and felt right at home. We soaked up the last bit of sunshine, finished our books, and took a final dip in that clear, warm water. The hotel had a big barbecue dinner and bonfire on the beach that night. We ate our hearts out and then made some smores. It was the perfect ending to an incredible trip. 

This vacation was the best mix of relaxation and adventure. Just what we wanted. Bermuda may be the most beautiful place we've ever been. I still dream about the soft sand, the inviting waters, and the most vibrant colors. It is such a peaceful place. My favorite part was just being together without any other responsibilities. I feel so grateful for that time. There were so many moments during this week that I wish I could just bottle up and relive them again. Bye, Bermuda! You were so very good to us. We only hope to be lucky enough to walk on your shores again some time. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bermuda: Part Three

For the last half of our trip, we stayed at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess in the island's capital city. There was definitely more of a younger crowd at this hotel and we even met a few other young couples from New York. Our first day we rented scooters and explored the island in style. I mean, holy helmets! We already have big noggins and these did not help our case. 

Our first stop was one of Bermuda's top attractions - The Crystal Caves. This was such a neat place and unlike anything I've seen before. It was discovered in 1905 by two young teenagers who were playing cricket. They went looking for their ball that went down a hole and found the cave instead. It consists of a clear lake almost 60 feet deep and crystal formations everywhere you look. Pretty fascinating. I think this was Scott's favorite thing we did that day. 

Lucky for us, Bailey's Ice Cream Parlour is right next door, another Bermuda favorite. And speaking of Bermuda favorites, I give you, the Swizzle Inn. When we first arrived and were going through customs at the airport, we asked people what we should do and see. Going to the Swizzle Inn and drinking a rum swizzle was everyone's first answer. I guess it's the drink of the island or something. "Swizzle in and swagger out," they told us. We laughed. Didn't get the drink - so these pictures will have to do. 

Next, we scootered to the town of St. George which used to be the capital of the island. It has survived and functioned pretty much unchanged for the last 400 years. We visited the local shops, Towne Hall, and St. Peter's Anglican Church. It was historic, quaint, and charming. 

These were the local harbors surrounding the town. It was so quiet and there weren't many people around. These young kids paddling in the water were the biggest crowds we saw. 

We rode past all of these colorful homes throughout the parish. Those pretty pastels get me every time. I often told Scott which color I would paint my house. I was torn between the bright coral or the baby blue. Also, we learned that the roofs are white-washed because each house is responsible for collecting their own rain water to use for drinking, plumbing, etc. Each home has its own filtering system to make sure its purified. Talk about self-sufficient. 

We made our way to St. David's Lighthouse. Unfortunately, it was closed but we admired it from outside. I was loving its bright red accents. Something about a red door just gets me. 

These are all snapshots of our drive through St. George's Parish. Riding doubsies on a scooter with Scott took me back to our Provo days. It was the perfect way to see the island. 

We saw Tobacco Bay on the other side of the parish as the sun was going down. We didn't get in the water but it's supposed to be a great place to snorkel. 

Before heading back to Hamilton, we stopped here at Flatts Village in Smith's Parish and again, enjoyed those purty homes. We ended the night riding through the city and grabbing dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was a day full of exploring and adventuring with my guy. 

The next morning, we wanted to make the most of the time we had with our scooter so we went on another ride. The island is only about a mile wide and 22 miles long so you can see so much in a short amount of time. Also, I was mentally gearing up for our afternoon activity - snorkeling. I'm no good at water games and was a little nervous. 

Our snorkel cruise picked us up from our hotel and before we knew it we were on the water. These views were some of my favorite of the trip. The colors are so bold and vibrant. 

They took us all the way around the Great Sound and into the Atlantic Ocean.  

And then I was like, "We are so not city people after all." Photo cred: Scuba Steve, I mean, Snorkel Scotty. It's safe to say, we found our inner islanders on this cruise. These pictures will get me through the frigid months of winter. 

Our tour captain was a small English man who moved to the island decades ago. He was all about sea turtle preservation and I swear he spent half of our tour pointing out turtles in the water. In his accent he would yell, "Turtle at 2:00! Turtle at 8:00!" and so on. Our heads would bob back and forth trying to see them all. Here is Scott imitating our captain, "Turtle at 3:00!"

Bermuda is known for their shipwreck sites. There were hundreds of fish swimming near this site and since we were on a glass-bottom tour we could see them underneath the boat. We just kept quoting lines from "Finding Nemo". I felt sorry for the people sitting next to us. 

We stopped fairly close to a private beach and went snorkeling. The water was so warm and enjoyable that I could have stayed in it forever. Especially with my noodle. The captain gave most people a noodle so we didn't have to tread water the entire time. I felt like I was five-years-old but it was key. 

After a few hours on the water, we headed back to our hotel. The snorkel cruise was definitely a highlight of the trip. I'm so glad we did it. In my book, it's a must if you're going to Bermuda. 

That night we had dinner at a yummy place near this harbor. The setting was gorgeous and the company was my favorite. We knew it was going to be like pulling teeth to get us off this island. 
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