August 18, 2011

Portland Visit

I had originally intended on posting yesterday, but no offense, everybody, I had something much more important going on...

Yesterday, Matt and I were celebrating our 4th Wedding Anniversary together! Matt had yesterday off of work, so we had a lovely, romantic, relaxing day together.

Four years ago:

{The Rehearsal}
{Lake Michigan}

Now on to my trip to Portland!

Most of my trip revolved around my participation in Katie Kyle-Lewis' wedding this past weekend and we were running to and fro so much that I didn't take nearly as many photos as I'd hoped.

On a side note, I have to rant a teensy bit about my flight out there. I have never paid as much money for a plane ticket to Portland as I did this last visit. It was horrendous! Secondly, the ticket I booked was on Southwest Airlines, the cheapest by far. Though you can check up to two bags for free {which is excellent}, that was the only plus. The downside was that my flight from Detroit made two scheduled stops on its way to Portland; one in Denver and one in Salt Lake City At both stops, there is hardly time to get up and use the lavatory or stretch one's legs, and one can't exit the aircraft. So with these two stops plus air travel time, I was on that airplane for a total of eight hours. EIGHT. And for so much money!

Thankfully, the gorgeous views of the Pacific Northwest cheered me considerably on our descent into Portland.

My delightful view of the mountains in Washington State

Mount Adams is in the foreground and Mount Rainier in the background

The best part about my visit was staying with my brother, Brandon, his wife Karyl, my niece Krista {8}, and my nephew Sam {4}. Brandon is 3 1/2 years older than me and his is absolutely the best brother a girl could ever ask for.

We've always had a special bond growing up. {Maybe it's the red hair??} As kids, Brandon passed down his old cassette tapes to me, shared his football cards with me, showed me his hiding spots for his knife collection, and even took me along to hang out with his friends, among many other things. Seriously, what big brother does that?! He always made me feel sooo cool. And since Brandon was always one of the popular kids at school, I believed that anything Brandon liked must be cool.

It just kills me that I don't get to see him but once a year or so. And now; now he has his beautiful family that are so far away, too!

I had a blast hanging out with Krista and Sam. They're super-affectionate kids that make me feel abundantly loved! We had time for playing Barbies, blowing up and popping balloons, cuddling up and watching movies, and lots and lots of giggles.

At Katie's Wedding

Sam is such a typical rough-and-tough little boy.  He's usually shirtless and barefoot and covered in a good layer of dirt. But that's exactly how Brandon was as a little boy, and in fact, Sam is the spitting image of his dad at that age.

Trying on Aunt Deanne's boots

I didn't have time to see all my family in Portland this visit. I have my grandparents, three sets of uncles/aunts, and seven cousins and their spouses who live there. I did have two lunch dates with my Grandma and got to visit my Grandpa for the first time since he's moved into a beautiful care facility. He has Parkinson's but is doing as excellent as possible with that, and he's really happy and comfortable in his new place.

"Heidi's" Swiss Restaurant, one of my Grandma's favorites

We ordered breakfast food for lunch. I'm just like my Grandma--we would happily eat breakfast for every meal!

On my way home, I first caught a flight south to my connecting flight in Sacramento, CA. This allowed for a view of the ocean most of the way, but even more delightful was this view of Crater Lake, Oregon.

I visited Crater Lake in college with my uncle, brother, grandpa, and best friend, Laura. The crater was formed after a volcano erupted thousands of years ago and has been collecting rain water and snow ever since. It's the deepest lake in the Western Hemisphere and third deepest in the world. The most striking thing about Crater Lake, especially up close, is the incredibly intense blue color of the water. It literally looks like someone colored the water with blue dye!

Tomorrow I'll share all about Katie's wedding and the related events...

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