Monday, October 21, 2013

Leaf peeping, living, and loving it!

First of all - we are SO behind with this blog and we apologize for that. School and work keep us busy but we will try to get into the habit of writing so that we don't leave the blog high and dry.

It's officially fall here in Hanover! The leaves have fallen off about 70% of the trees which leaves purple, red, yellow, and green beautiful hillsides. Driving anywhere here gives a great view of all the autumn beauty, whether it's across the river to Vermont or just a mile away to the Co-op. The kids at the childcare center enjoy throwing the dead leaves up in the air, or they did enjoy throwing the leaves until we teachers found a tick and put a kibosh on that.

Travis is busy with assignments, projects, classes, and a TA-ship. He is enjoying his classes, and is especially enjoying being a grad TA. Here's a guy who loves his academics! He is also making time to continue learning how to play the guitar, which I enjoy as well because I get free concerts from the couch. He's a hard worker and a constant inspiration to me as I see him pursuing the things that he is passionate about - God, academics, music, and endless learning.

I'm not quite as busy with extracurriculars, but working at the childcare center takes enough energy on its own. I love working with the kids and I still feel so fortunate to have been hired at the center. I have been trying to work in some Spanish vocabulary at school here and there, and when Travis and I try Spanish conversation sometimes, it just feels so good to be speaking that beautiful language. Linguistics is also [always] on my mind, so look out for an amateur article that I am currently attempting to research!

The foliage provides excellent opportunity for wannabe photographers, so I thought I would share some pictures from our backyard to make up for this brief and tardy entry:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

the Trip

 The post "Bellingham to Centralia" told the tale of the first leg of the Trip, and now the rest of the Trip will be told in one post. Bear with us.

When Travis and I left Centralia, we headed to Coulee Dam, WA where my Grammie lives. As usual, we took the route over White Pass, so that we could say goodbye to Mount Rainier for a while.

We got to spend my 22nd birthday in Coulee swimming, playing frisbee, and eating delicious food. From there we went to Spokane to spend a couple of days with my parents, and we also got to see some other great Spokane folks that we already miss a lot. 
Isn't she a bit of terrific?

It was exciting and sad to leave Washington from there, but we got to Idaho and Montana pretty soon, so we were quickly on our way.

Our plan was to drive all the way to Yellowstone in that first long day, but after dinner in Bozeman, MT, rain and nighttime persuaded to stop early at a different campground. We did make it to Yellowstone the next day and spent the whole day driving around the park in awe. It is beautiful and so diverse there. I wish we could have had more time this trip, but we put the park on our list of places that we want to devote more time to someday.

Yankee Jim Canyon

Mammoth Falls

Warming up
Full steam!
Lots and lots of bison
After Yellowstone we went to Rapid City, where we met up with my mom's cousin Denny and his friend Jackie. On our way to Rapid City, we stopped and saw Mount Rushmore, which was breathtaking! The light was starting to fade but we caught it just in time to still be awed.

The next morning, we went through the Badlands before getting to the slightly less interesting parts of South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois.

What a shock!

This day was one of our longest days, during which we pushed through South Dakota (stopping to see the wonderful Luke Myre on the way), and Iowa, all the way the edge of Illinois. For this reason, we missed the Illinois state line sign because we arrived there around 3am.

We drove so much that day because we wanted to have a shorter day to Bloomington, IN, where my brother David lives. It was definitely worth the day and night of driving, because we got to spend more time with David and his girlfriend Laura!

Please excuse the bug splatters
If you ever have the chance to visit Bloomington, I must recommend the Irish Lion Restaurant & Pub and the WonderLab Museum! Done in quick succession in this order does make the museum even more fun, although I'm positive that it would be a great time even without some Irish beer before.

From Bloomington we drove through Ohio and Pennsylvania to get to Niagara Falls, NY. We arrived at Niagara Falls when it was dark, which meant there were lights on the falls and lots of other fascinated people out to see this beautiful place. When we returned to the falls the next morning, the mist from the falls was so abundant that we could not even see the falls! There were no other people on the lower viewing deck, which we thought was strange until we ventured down there and got completely soaked by all the falling condensed mist. For this reason we do not have any pictures of the actual falls, but hopefully that encourages all of you to go get drenched by this wonder of nature yourselves.

Intimidating all the truckers by parking near them

Just in case we wanted a closer look at the mist

From Niagara Falls, we drove to Somerville, MA, where our friends Claude and Kelsey recently moved to with their son Julian. We had a great time touring downtown Somerville, playing with Julian, talking with Claude and Kelsey, and resting before our last little trip to Hanover.

The last two hours of driving were exciting and a bit anxious as we tried to imagine what life would be like in our new home, so far away from our previous homes. So far Hanover, New Hampshire, and Vermont have all offered beauty and kind people, and we feel blessed to have been put into such a wonderful place. But we'll see if our tune changes once the snow comes...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A brief introduction to our adventure

Hello, future avid readers of our blog! This is a delayed but, I'm sure, much anticipated introduction to our blog.

Travis and I (Mary), are moving approximately 3,000 miles east, from Bellingham, WA to Hanover, NH. Travis is entering the Computer Science PhD program at Dartmouth College (so silly they still call it College), and I am starting a job at the Child Care Center in Norwich, VT, which is right across the Connecticut River from Hanover. In Hanover we hope to grow, learn, teach, love, eat, sleep, run, leafpeep, sled, and be thankful for all the opportunities we've gotten. It's going to be an adventure that will last us at least 4 years, and the support of our family and friends back on the West Coast will certainly get us through our darker East Coast moments.

Soon to follow will be a post about our cross-country trip. Thank you for all the love and encouragement so far!

Ever in our hearts

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bellingham to Centralia

We began the first leg of our journey late Friday night - after a long day of packing and cleaning we finally left Bellingham at about 11:30 pm! Our first stop was just down I-5 in Centralia where my mom, Pati lives.

I (Travis) tried to be a manly-man and assure Mary that even though I was very tired from a long day and a long week that I would be fine with driving a few hours (the drive from Bellingham to Centralia is only about 3 hours)... but I only made it about a half-hour before I was battling with my eyes and had to turn the driver seat over to Mary! :)

Mary drove the rest of the way with some help from her good ol' friend, the 16 oz. Red Bull! haha I can take a little bit of credit though - after a tiny little cat nap I turned into quite a chatty kathy and helped keep Mary awake.

We got into Centralia at about 3:00 am and got to talk to mom and Taylor for a little bit (never wake a 2 year-old up at 3 in the morning though...sorry mom...).

Since we've been in Centralia we've been running around quite a bit! We spent most of Saturday down in Kelso for Amaya's birthday party (for those that don't know, Amaya is Travis's cousin Mindy's daugter and she just celebrated her 5th birthday). We also had the chance to visit with Travis's high school cross country coach, Joe Stewart, and some other family from the area.

When we got back into Centralia later on Saturday night we went to McMenemins and ate some delicious food and watched Man of Steel (if you haven't seen it - stop reading and go see it right now...).

Sunday we caught up on our sleep a little but then we spent most of the day at the Southwestern Washington Fair which was a blast! We ate loads of fair food, gawked at animals like horses, goats, sheep, cows, ducks, and cats (they show cats at fairs?), played a couple of fair games, and, probably best of all, we played in these massive plastic balls that are filled with air! They let them loose in this pool of water and put you in them to let you run around like hamsters or something! [Pictures coming soon...]

We rounded out Sunday night by going to the Lucky Eagle Casino and losing some more of mom's money... (the "more" is referencing back to our trip to Reno last summer - ask us sometime and we can tell you about that if you are curious). We have concluded at this point that neither Mary nor I are very lucky in casinos. Our hypothesis is that we were so lucky to have found each other that we used up all of our luck ;)

For our last day in Centralia we are laying low. My sister, Jenna, is coming up to spend the afternoon/evening with us before we hit the road East. Mom is preparing a feast of steak, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, cucumber delicious-ness, and bloody marys with all the works! Needless to say we are pretty excited! I think we will also be playing some board games - at which point my over-competitive side will kick in and I will win all the games! muah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! ("or be super crabby if you don't" - Mary Peters)

Up next in our journey is a trip to Coulee Dam where Mary's Grammie lives! We are celebrating Mary's 22nd birthday there before heading to Spokane!

Until next time...