Saturday, October 24, 2009


I think Italy is God's gift to the earth. We just got back from a 12-day trip through Italy. It was unbelievable!!! We were in heaven and absolutely loved it over there. We went with Emily's parents Bob/Carol and had an absolute ball!

We spent 3 days in Venice, 3 days in Florence, and 5 days in Roma. From Florence, we took a side trip to Pisa (the tower is still leaning) and a side trip to Siena (this amazing medieval town). From Roma, we spent a day in Naples (it has the best pizza in the world - and rightfully so since that is where it was invented) and went to the ancient city of Pompeii (preserved by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.) The trip was a dream come true!!

Some of the highlights from our trip:

1) Venice! Wow - what an amazing city. It was so nice going to a place where there are no cars (a nice break from the chaos of NYC). It was so cool taking a Gondola, or seeing the school kids take the Vaperetto (water public transportation down the Grand Canal).

(View of the Grand Canal at night, taken from the Rialto Bridge)

(On the Rialto Bridge)
(Em next to the Grand Canal)

(Rialto Bridge)
(Other side of the Rialto bridge, taken from our gondola ride)

(Restaurants by the Grand Canal)

(Mum and dad on the Gondola Ride through the canals of Venice)

(Some gondaleers in the background)

(Photo from one of the hundreds of bridges on that tiny island)

2) Murano - a small island off of Venice where they make the famous Venetian glass.

3) Florence - climbing to the top of the Duomo and seeing an amazing view of Florence. But the highlight, was going to the Academia and seeing Michelangelo's David. It was unbelievable!!

(At the top of the Duomo in Florence)

(Bell tower next to the Duomo)
(Incredible views from the top of the Duomo)
(Mum ordered the largest 'Coca Light' they had, and - voila!)

We actually were able to see all the sites in Florence in one day (and what a day!) and so we decided to do a day trip into the medieval city of Siena.
(Rob in the Piazza del Campo in Siena.)

(Em in front of del Campo and the clock tower)

(Em in front of the incredible Duomo in Siena... so many Duomoes, so little time!)

4) Roma - my personal favorite city. The entire city is stunning - walking down the street and then seeing the Coliseum or ancient forum where Julius Caesar or Marc Antony spoke anciently. Just the history and the significance of ancient Rome was so fulfilling for me. It was interesting seeing various places where Peter and Paul may have taught as well to the Ancient Romans. Lastly, the Borghese Gallery, with the life-sized marble statues by Bernini were completely breath-taking. The overall favorite was the one of Apollo and Daphne - absolutely amazing!

(The Colosseum!)

(Inside the Colloseum)

5) Vatican - the Sistine Chapel was incredible. I was also amazed at the size and beauty of St. Peter's Basilica. Our hotel was 50 feet from the Vatican, so waking up each morning and looking outside of our window and seeing the Vatican or just walking around the square on our way home for the evening with Gelato was the perfect way to start and end each day.

(View of the Vatican from the top of Castel Sant'Angelo)

(Visiting the Vatican one night before heading to our hotel - which is right behind Emily taking the picture!)

We spent four full days in Rome, so Emily and I decided to take a day trip to Pompeii and Naples.

(Emily in front of the Temple of Jupiter in Pompeii)

(An ancient bakery!)

(The ancient Pompeiians flooded their streets in order to clean them, so they built raised stones for people to cross the road and not get their sandals wet. Emily says this is her Abbey Road shot.)

(Literally, a "beware of dog" sign, except this is a mosaic and is two THOUSAND years old... and yes, it really says beware of dog, but in Latin)

(Plaster casts of people caught in the ash of the eruption)

After Pompeii, Em and I went to Naples and had the best pizza we've ever had. So, people say the best pizza in the world comes from Italy. And so if L'Antica Pizzeria 'Da Michele' is the best pizza in Italy, does that mean it's the best pizza in the world!? We say YES!

(A thumbs up from the big man himself -- no not god, but the master of pizza!)

It was the trip of a lifetime!

Happy 3 Year Anniversary

Happy 3 year anniversary Em! I am so happy to be married to you and love you so much! This has been a wonderful 3 years and I look forward to spending eternity with you.

Here are some of the reasons why I love Em:

1) She is so loving, kind, compassionate, and considerate.
2) She is the most beautiful woman in the world!
3) She is the love of my life.
4) She has an amazing ability to empathize and work well with others. She is so good with helping people through hard times - I know she is going to be the best mother in the world.
5) She is supportive of all of my crazy dreams and ideas.
6) She is outgoing and willing to try new adventures.
7) She is hilarious - I love her endless witty comments.
8) She loves traveling and I love being with her at all these new places.
9) She is an amazing chef, and makes the best tacos in the world!!!!!
10) She is a super star at her job - and amazing at PR.
11) She is the most creative person I have ever met (it is absolutely amazing to see - on her first try she did this amazing painting.)
12) She is an incredible writer - so good with words. I am excited for her future in this area.
13) She is so intelligent and informed on current events and the latest technology (I am constantly learning things from her).
14) She sacrificed her weekends and every minute after work to help me in this application process (thank you so much - you were so supportive and invaluable to me in getting those done).
15) She helps me become a better person.

The list goes on and on - but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Em is the most amazing person I have ever met and I count my blessings every day that she said yes 3 years ago. I love you darling and hope you know how much you mean to me. Happy Anniversary.

Cape Cod

Emily and I have been officially married for 3 years!!! I cannot believe how fast time flies. For our anniversary, we decided to go up to Newport, Rhode Island and to Cape Cod. We had an amazing trip! We wanted to also go to Martha's Vineyard but the Obama's decided they wanted to visit there the same time we did - so we will go another time.

Newport is so much fun. Just walking down the main street, eating Clam Chowder at the Black Pearl on the water, or touring all of the amazing mansions (our favorite was the Breakers.) What a fun little town!

We absolutely love Mass., and I wouldnt mind settling down there someday. It was so much fun to be in Cape Cod. We stayed in this awesome 2-story place right on the beach of the Nantucket sound at Hyannis Port. We of course had Lobster and just enjoyed each other's company. It was so much fun and was a great way to celebrate.

I love you Em - Happy Anniversary!


I love the fall! It is just so beautiful, the weather is amazing, and it means that we are coming up upon 4 major exciting holidays. It is just a happy time. I think I appreciate it more out here on the East Coast since we actually have 4 seasons (unlike AZ). It is just a fun and happy time. Life doesnt get any better than this. As I always say "Living the Dream!"

Jeff & Sandy

We love having family come out. It is so nice to just spend time to chat and have fun. I think it makes you step back from the monotonous day to day chaos. We were so happy to have my brother and his wife come out from Colorado. We used to live next to Jeff/Sandy when we were going to BYU, and became really close as we often times crashed their place for dinner! We had such a blast and hope they come again soon!

Some of the fun things:
Yankees game
Niagara Falls (at night all lit up - so cool)
Stardust Diner
Lombardi's Pizza
West Side Story (although - this was a big disappointment. I am glad they were able to see Wicked and Jersey Boys)
Rockband Beatles!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for coming out. We had so much fun and cant wait to see you guys again soon!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Scout Camp

We had Scout Camp this week. We met at 6 AM Monday morning, and drove to Camp. We stayed about 2 hours away, in upstate NY. It was a really nice camp, with great facilities. We had 4 boys, another leader and his son, and myself.

Regrettably, I was only able to stay until Wednesday night, since I had to get back to work. The first night the boys were a little out of their element. They were scared about the spiders and the other bugs in their tents. But after that first night, they were doing great and completely used to the camping.

They were involved in Archery, Wood Carving, Leatherwork, Wood carving, swimming, canoeing, and rowing. The food was ... decent at best, but that makes for good memories and stories. There were 6 other stakes there from the NY area, and we had about 200 boys at camp, about 35 from Queens.

We have such good boys. They are all awesome and I was so happy they were there. We had a great time. Thanks Kevin for going up on Wed to take my place.

Chicago & Nauvoo

We decided to take a few days off of work and go to Chicago. We met Rob's mom/dad there. They were chosen to participate in this Option Trading TV show (Options Cocktail). We had one of the best Hotels overlooking downtown Chicago, the CBOT, the Sears (Willis) Tower, and Lake Michigan. We had so much fun spending out time in Chicago.

We went to the top of the Sears tower. They had just finished putting in these glass panels that allow you to walk 110 stories in the air, with just glass above you and on the sides. It is a little scary, but a really cool experience.

We went to dinner at this nice restaurant - the Italian Villiage, right across the street from where dad used to work 40 years ago.

We then drove down to Nauvoo, and met Jeff/Sandy and their family. We were able to see all of the sites, do a temple session, and just had so much fun. Nauvoo is a great place, and it was such a fun vacation.

And of course, on the way there and the way back, we had to stop and get a bite to eat at Stake'N'Shake. It was so good! We love Chicago and the midwest. It was so fun and such a great time.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ithaca, Buffalo, and Palmyra

We had a great weekend trip. We decided to rent a car, leave the city, and enjoy the beautiful summer in upstate NY. We drove to Niagara Falls, went up to Toronto, ate Buffalo Wings in Buffalo, shopped and shopped at the Waterloo Premium Outlets, and saw the Church History sites in Palmyra. It was an incredible trip.

Niagara was really awesome. My favorite part was taking the Maid of the Mist boat tour right into Horseshoe Falls.

We drove up to Toronto, and really liked it. It is a clean, fun city. Since we were there, we also decided to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Kissed the Stanley Cup - hopefully that will bring luck to the SJ Sharks for next season.

We dropped by Buffalo for some Wings. They were actually really really good. The city was a little sad - I think it has been hit pretty hard with the financial crisis.

We went down and saw my friend Ben Lewis in Ithaca and saw the Cornell campus. It was fun to catch up with him and see the town.

Lastly, we went to the Church History sites, and shopped at the Waterloo outlets. Emily had never been to Palmyra, it was fun to see the Joseph Smith home, Sacred Grove, Grandin Bldg, Hill Cumorah, and Peter Whitmer Farm. It was a great trip.

Gotta love road trips.

Palmyra Temple.

Ben Lewis and Rob lounging on his couch in Ithaca.
View over Ithaca and the finger lake.
Graduate school at Cornell.
Ithaca waterfalls.

Peter Whitmer Farm.

Martin Harris Farm.
Grandin Building

Sacred Grove.

Joseph Smith Farm Home.
Palmyra Temple.

JS Log House.
The upper bedroom.
Hill Cumorah.

Buffalo Wings ... in Buffalo. They were really good!

Streets of Toronto.
Look familiar MJ??

The CN Tower.

The Precious Stanley Cup - next stop, the hands of the San Jose Sharks players.

Gotta love the Sharks.
Soviet Union.

Hockey Hall of Fame.

Maid of the Mist - Niagara Falls.
U.S. Falls.

Horshoe Falls.