Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pittsburgh - Part 2 (A Tribute to The Christmas Story)

Another stop on our trip was Ohio. There we fulfilled a life long dream I never knew I had. We made a visit to The Christmas Story house. I will be honest, as most shows, the scenes were not actually filmed in the house. It was mostly used for the outside shots or when the actors were looking out the window. However, some brilliant man bought the home and has replicated the inside to look just like the movie. We were allowed to touch anything in the house and replicate scenes from that iconic film. I could not wipe the smile off my face during the entire tour. I decided to dedicate an entire post just for this stop. Also because the next stop in Ohio was the Kirtland Temple and I didn't quite know how to make such a transition in one blog post.
Get ready for picture OVERLOAD.

"Ah, there it is. My house. And good old Cleveland Street."

Interesting fact: The film states that Ralphie lived in Indiana however this home is located in Cleveland, Ohio. Thus they named the street 'Cleveland Street' to pay tribute to the location of the home.
 "The snap of a few sparks, a quick wiff of ozone... and the lamp blazed in unparalleled glory."

I noticed B.J.'s face in this then just noticed his hand on the lamp. Haha that B.J.

"Kids its Little Orphan Annie Time."

"Fra-gi-ley. That must be Italian."

"Well it's a blue ball. It's a bowling ball."

"Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie."

 "My mother had not had a hot meal for herself in 15 years."

"Gradually I drifted off to sleep, pranging ducks on the wing and getting off spectacular hip shots."

"Be sure to drink your ovaltine. A crummy commercial."

 "My personal preference is for Lux, but I found the Palmolice had a nice piquant, after-dinner flavor."
Our tour guide said people actually put that in their mouths. Little nasties. 
"You'll shoot your eye out!"

I will end it there. We then went over to the museum which is across the street and has many of the original outfits and props. And of course there was a gift shop. I wanted everything. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pittsburgh - Part 1

This summer we went out to Pittsburgh to visit Mandi and Clay. It was soooo much fun; they were awesome hosts. Pops also later joined us (don't worry another 'Pops does' serious will be published on Mandi's blog). This is going to be a long post because we did so many amazing things!!


Our first day we spent in Ohiopyle National Park in Pennsylvania. Mandi and I were quite adventurous if I do say so myself. Many of you don't see us as the 'outdoorsy type'. Well prepared to be amazed....

This is our 'pre-hike' photo shoot by the river.

We then hiked the peninsula. The scenery while we hiked was beautiful! 

Maybe a little sacrilegious but doesn't he look like Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove. haha 
Since it is a national park they have signs throughout the hike explaining the local animals and plants. One explained that there had been a hotel where we were hiking during the late 1800s and early 1900s. We started to look in the area and we kept finding old thick broken bottles, glass, porcelain, and bricks from the building. Coolest part of the hike. It got us a little turned around and lost but it was totally worth it.

Clay found this marble which we researched and found to be from that same time period. They took it home, hopefully its not some conduit for a creepy spirit. 

After the hike we went on the natural water slides which was incredibly terrifying and fun. 

Then we went to see another waterfall.

Best part about this waterfall. You don't even have to hike to get to it.

The back side of water!! Yep that's Mandi and me right there. Hiked down slippery, treacherous rocks to stand behind the waterfall. After those natural water slides we were feeling invincible. 
Hehe bet they didn't think I would post this. 
 Here we are looking out over the ravine.


The second day we went to the West Virginia Penitentiary. It is was open from the mid 1800s to 1995. It is rated as the third most violent prison because of the deaths that occurred IN the prison. Over 900 deaths occurred in this prison and only 100 were executions. Get ready for some creepy, gruesome stories. This section is not for the faint of heart. Feel free to skip over if you can't handle it. I think the facial expressions in the picture below show how horrified we were by the stories we heard there. But it was extremely intriguing so I will share a few:)

We started out in a museum area where they talked about different events that occurred at the prison. One particular event was a huge riot that the prisoners created. They took guards has hostages and did horrible and unspeakable things to other prisoners in front of the guards. They were upset by the treatment they were receiving so they demanded to speak to the mayor (or someone like that:) to change conditions. They displayed the weapons they had made out of toothbrushes, socks & bricks, forks, as well as other normal day to day objects. You have to give them one thing they are quite creative. We toured the prison cells, the infirmary, the psych unit, and the sugar shack. Oh and we also went down to the pipe room where one prisoner was decapitated while on the toilet (told you it was bad).

Old Sparky

Mandi gettin her lunch.

In the infirmary they still have medical equipment such as x-ray machines and dental office equipment. It's like they just abandoned the building. Creepy. 

Ok guys there was a horrible presence in this cell. I could barely stand in there long enough to take the picture. This was one of the high security cells for prisoners who were extremely violent. In one of the prisons a man was backed up between the toilet and bed and murdered. Blood pouring out into the halls..... your welcome. 

We got locked in a cell. The tour guide pretended like ours was broken and kept us in there longer than everyone else. Luckily there wasn't a creepy presence in this one. 

The psych ward. Poor people were chained to their beds up here and layed in their own urine for days. So sad. In one room one prisoner did an unspeakable, gruesome thing (message me if you want the details;) and Mandi took a picture inside the room. After she took the picture we kept hearing strange noises. Way to go Mandi, angering the spirits. 

Well I will stop there. But really it was so cool to see. Moral of the story children: don't do bad things or else you will be stuck in a prison with crazy people and have to use the toilet in front of everyone.


Pops joins us! Isn't this a cute picture of Pops. He rarely smiles in photos but he is in this one because he hugged me when he was sweaty....whatever makes him smile I guess. This is a trail by Mandi's house that used to be a railroad. 

After pops joined us we went into the city of Pittsburgh. The rivers, bridges, and skyline make it a unique and beautiful city. We started out at the strip district where they have a lot of cute little Italian grocery stores and restaurants. I had one of the best cannolis there. We then spent time walking around downtown Pittsburgh. After exploring the city we went to a Pirate's game.

The Duquesne Incline. We rode these to get up to a great view of the city. The steel workers would ride these to get to and from work. 

Mister Rogers and me. I love him. 

The beautiful view we had at the baseball game. It was my first baseball game.

This is the end of part 1 of the Pittsburgh adventures. Stay tuned for part 2.

Cari and Scott's Surfing Visit

B.J.'s brother and sister came out to visit us for a surfing trip! Scott has come out on a couple of other occasions and surfed but this was Cari's first time. I unfortunately had to work the first couple of days but was able to join them the last day. From the sounds of it Cari, Scott, and B.J. basically owned those waves. Here are some fun pics they took. It makes me sick how photogenic they all are. Even after being pummeled by the waves they look awesome. I married into a cute family :)

He's cute.

I don't know what it is but this family has this strange amazing talent of hand stands. Pretty rad. 

Cari's amazing one handed hand stand. She stayed like this for like 10 minutes.....;)

Then we chased the sunset for this awesome picture and watched dolphins! It was amazing! 

Thank you for coming! We had so much fun with you guys! 

Summer of 2014

Okay folks I decided it was about time to give you all the update on the happenings of our summer. B.J. had an internship for most of the summer so it was fun being able to spend the evenings together without the worry of homework. We spent time with family and explored a little bit more of California. Here is a peek into our summer.


For the past year or so.... my old Saturn was struggling. The poor thing had smoke coming out the back and ferociously shook when stopped with the air conditioner on. It also suffered two rear ends since moving to California. I decided to let the poor thing go. I know many of you may have fond memories of riding in the old Princess Mobile with the sun roof open listening to songs such as 'Ridin Dirty' and 'Here in your Arms'. She will never be forgotten. When we put her up for sale we got so many interested buyers and sold her within 24 hours. As one man looking at the car put it, "Saturns are the BMW of the hood". I was sad to see her go, but to look on the bright side we got a new car!! The amount of technology and features in cars now-a-days is incredible. My favorite feature, the back-up camera! Now I can parallel park like a boss.


We celebrated the Fourth of July with Ginger. We found a spot, that was basically on a freeway entrance, that overlooked Pasadena. We were able to watch the fireworks that were at the Rose Bowl. It was a beautiful view. 


I celebrated Ginger's birthday with her at Disneyland complete with a birthday pin and free dessert.


The Huntingon Library is actually in the ritzy neighborhood near by us. The Huntington Library was built and owned by Mr. Huntington and his aunt, who was the richest women in the U.S., whom he married. Yes, you read that right he married his aunt, at least they weren't blood related. Their family owned the railroads  out in California, thus had great amounts of wealth. The Huntington Library is now open to the public. On the land you can tour the couples mansion which includes their large art collection as well as the library they built to store all of their books. Mr. Huntington had an interest in collecting books. Any time he saw that a library was saleing their books he would buy the entire library to ensure he got the one or two books that he had a particular interest in. Oh to be rich. The land also includes 120 acres of specialized botanical gardens which includes a Rose Garden, Japanese Gardens, Chinese Gardens, Subtropical and Jungle Garden, a Desert Garden and many more. It was absolutely stunning and so fun to explore. Here are some pictures of the land created by people that have more money than they know what to do with. The pictures of course don't do it justice.
Part of their home. It was too big for me to fit in one shot.

The Library 

Too many books to fit in your house? Just build yourself a library. Why didn't I think about that. 
Of course a ritzy piece of land would not be complete without naked statues.....everywhere. 
The Chinese and Japanese Gardens

I felt like Mulan.

 Tropical Gardens (maybe? probably?)

On the property there is a mausoleum where the couples remains are now. Does it look familiar? It was designed and created by the same man that later constructed the Jefferson Memorial in D.C.

Sorry for my long random blog vomit. More summer posts to come!