Monday, January 10, 2011

Catching Up.... the end of 2010

Alright, since it's the beginning of a new year, I wanted to catch up and document the last couple of months of 2010 on our blog.  Please forgive the fact that I'm reverting to the past a little.  
Going back to late October.....At the end of our trip back to Ohio, my parents had to fly back home, but Mike and I had four more days without work or school.  So, naturally, we kept on vacationing.  We rented a car in Ohio, and drove through Pennsylvania up to Niagra Falls in New York.  The drive was absolutely beautiful.  The leaves were in peak season.

We got to Niagra Falls, and the downside was that it was freezing and POURING rain.  The upside, was that this visit was much different from the last time I went to Niagra Falls with my family.  Instead of getting caught in a sea of Asian tourists on their summer holiday, we basically had the place to ourselves.

Gearing up at the Cave of the Winds..... we got some HOT ponchos!

They aren't kidding when they say cave of the WINDS.

After we had our fill of Niagra Falls, we hopped in our little car and started driving again.  After a horrible experience with a power-hungry border patrol man, we finally made it into Canada!  Next stop: Toronto!  I've always wanted to go to Toronto, so we figured this trip was the perfect time!

As far as cities go, it reminded me of a smaller, more commuter-like New York. The buildings were much less unique though- they all looked the same.  We got there, checked into our Hotel, finally took showers, and headed to Yongue Street (the Times Square-like area of the city), and grabbed dinner at an incredible steak house.

The next day, we embarked on our own walking tour of the city, with our first stop being the CN Tower.  This is one of the most famous attractions in Toronto.  It stands at 1,815 ft tall, and was the tallest free standing structure in the world until 2007, when the Burj Khalifia was built in Dubai.  Although not the tallest anymore, it continues to be classified as one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World.  It's the skinny needle-like building behind Mike in this picture.   

Somehow Mike convinced me to ride up to the top with him in the glass elevator.  You might not know this, but I am TERRIFIED of heights.  Seriously, my legs get all shaky, my heart starts racing, my palms get sweaty, and I want to pee my pants.  You'd think that I would just stay away from tall structures and be happy.  WRONG.  The problem is that whenever I travel, there always seems to be a tall structure to conquer.  And I'm too stubborn to sit an adventure out.  So, while my friends all enjoyed the top of the Eiffel Tower, I was just praying a gust of wind wouldn't knock us over.  When I walked across the rope bridges in the African Rain Forest, climbed to the top of the Duomo in Italy, and sat at the top of Chitzen Itza in Mexico I was sure I was going to die.  Heck, I even lived in New York, and only went to the top of the Empire State building once.  Just to say that I did.
Anway... you get the point.  I had to summon all the courage I possessed, to get to the top.  Here was our view:

Once we were at the top, the real fun, or terror, began.  If riding a glass elevator to the top of a skinny needle shaped building, and standing on a little observation deck towering over the city isn't scary enough, it turns out there is a GLASS FLOOR you can stand on.  Yes, this 'floor', or 2" thick sheet of glass, is the only thing between you and the ground 1,212 feet below.  And no, I'm not kidding.  I could not believe it.  It even took Mike, who normally isn't afraid of anything, a minute or two to get the guts to go stand on the thing.  I told him there was no way I was stepping onto that death trap, but the longer I stood there watching people walk out onto the ledge, the more I realized that I needed to do it.  When else in my life was I going to trek to the CN Tower in Toronto?  I quickly made friends with a woman who looked as scared as I was.  After 20 minutes, we finally worked up the courage to walk out.  Mike had to coax me.  You can tell by the look on my face I'm still not so sure about this...... and just for the record, I dashed out to get a picture then scrambled back to the safe floor.

Then I realized that the picture didn't even show what was below the glass, so I braced myself and ran out again for another photo opp.  I wanted proof, baby!  Please take notice of the fact that my hands are holding onto my knees because they were trembling like crazy.  Look at the ground below!

I was so proud of myself.  I conquered my fear of heights, if even for a split second!  To celebrate my victory, we went and dined at a delicious Indian Restaurant.  Please excuse Mike's creeper facial expression.  It's the only picture I had.

Next, we took advantage of the many glorious shopping options that aren't available to us in our dear Salt Lake City for a few hours, then we traveled to the old Casa Loma Castle.  It was built by a wealthy financier in the early 1900's, and we got to walk through all 98 rooms.

We snuck off and did a little exploring, and found this little attic room.  It was a beautiful view of Toronto.

This was the conclusion to a wonderful trip!  We went to bed early that night, and caught our flight out the next morning. We had such a fantastic time!

For some reason I really love Halloween, probably because it's kind of a kick off to the next two months chuck full of holidays and family traditions.  This year, we went to a couple different family dress-up parties.  My mom and I dressed up as my dear old Great Grandmother Viola, and her daughter Helen.  They were the funniest, cutest old ladies ever, may they rest in peace. 

Mike dressed up as Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.  I had to beg him to wear tight leggings to make the costume more believable.  Secretly, I think he liked it (even though he added the shawl around his middle at the last minute!)

We also attended a murder mystery dinner.  I was Maria the maid (can you tell I overloaded on Bronzer?), and Mike was a feeble old security guard.  Mike shocked everyone with his acting skills- he was the murderer in the end and nobody suspected it!

November was a great month.  The weather was uncharacteristically wonderful!

Enjoying a BYU football game with my Grandpa in his 50 yard line, 10th row seats!  My kind of game!

Thanksgiving always has, and always will be my absolute favorite holiday.  I adore it so much.  This year we spent the holiday with my family, at my parent's house.  We had over 35 guests.  Mike started fooling around folding napkins, and they turned out so good that he got assigned to fold all 35 of them!  I had no idea I married such an artistic, inventive napkin folder!

On December 12, we celebrated our 1st Year Anniversary of Marriage!!

In some ways it feels like yesterday that we officially started our lives together, but at the same time, I can't remember what life was like without him.  Marrying Mike is still the best decision I ever made.  He is the best husband a girl could ever ask for.  He compliments me in every, way shape and form, and I love him with all my heart.  This past year has been hilarious, wonderful, adventurous, and love-filled.  I can't wait for the rest of our lives together!

In celebration of our first anniversary, we started the morning by going to a Sub-for Santa Shopping Day through my work...

Then we grabbed breakfast at Lamb's Grill

Later that afternoon, we went to the Polar Express Symphony at Abravanel Hall.  It was so great!

That evening we ate dinner at Ruth's Chris, and then Mike surprised me with a night stay in a suite at the downtown Marriott, where we had our wedding dinner last year!  It was beautiful!  The best part of the night, however, is when Mike gave me my present- a gorgeous Amish Nativity set that he searched high and low for!  I've collected Nativity Set's since I was a little girl, and this one was so significant because we met in Amish Country, and visited there together again this past fall.  I'm still tearing up in the picture, but you get the idea.  

Then I gave Mike his gift, a book I compiled with hundreds of pictures documenting our first year of marriage together!

Happy One Year, Mike!  Love you!

After our anniversary came all of the fun Christmas festivities!!!  Last year with planning our wedding,  getting married, going on our honeymoon, and moving into our first place during December we didn't get to just sit back and relax and enjoy the holidays! This year was so fun to have the whole month to celebrate!  One night, my parents showed up on our porch with a basket full of presents- my mom put together the cutest 12 Days of Christmas for us- each present highlighting old traditions that I grew up with at Christmastime, or new ones to start since our family is getting bigger!  It was SO fun opening up such meaningful presents everyday!  Thanks so much Mom!!

One of our "presents" was a carriage ride around Temple Square, dinner at the Blue Lemon, and the John Schmidt Christmas Concert!  Such a fun night!

Christmas Eve at my Grandpa and Grandma Hymas' big annual family party

That night my mom gave us matching pajama pants that she made!

Mike was scheduled to work on Christmas, but got a phone call at 5am telling him he didn't have to go into the hospital!  It was a Christmas miracle!  It was so nice to spend Christmas morning with him!!  He had to go in to work for a few hours later in the afternoon, which was nothing compared to what we had planned on!  It was the best Christmas ever!!

There were a lot of great surprises, but one of my favorite Christmas presents was a cookbook my mom published with all of her recipes!  

The next day, we drove up to Idaho to spend a few days with Mike's family.  Two of his brother's and their families flew in from Philadelphia and New Jersey, and it was so fun to see everyone.  Sadly, I didn't take a single picture up there, but we had a great time sledding, going to movies, playing ping pong tournaments, and eating great food!  

2010 was the best year of my life so far.....  Here's to another great year!!
Happy New Year!