Thursday, November 11, 2010

Part Five: A Glorious Honeymoon

Well, dear readers, as I last left you, Devin and I were headed south to begin our honeymoon and our new life together.  Devin planned the whole honeymoon and kept it a surprise (of course, he LIVES for surprises!).  At each stage of the honeymoon, he would pull out a big white envelope and hand it to me to discover what our next adventure was – it was very exciting! There were a few set plans, but also some flexible suggestions depending on what I was interested in or how we were feeling.  We were lucky enough to both get eleven days off of work; we had the time of our lives!

This is Hines’ Mansion in Provo, where we stayed our first night.  Thus began one of the traditions of our marriage – we like to stay in Bed and Breakfasts.  It was my first time in a B&B, but what is not to like?! They are so quaint and full of history and much more personable than hotels.  Devin loves the absolutely to-die-for breakfasts and socializing with the other guests and the owner.  We’ve decided we want to own a B&B later in life.

The next morning we were off and the white envelope revealed our destination as St. George!  We stayed at another B&B, Quicksand and Cactus.  While in St. George, we mostly did whatever we felt like – wandering the city and enjoying some historic and artistic sites, and great food. 

One set plan was to visit the St. George temple.  This is another tradition in our marriage – we collect temples. J We’d like to serve in all the temples there are – or at least all the ones in the U.S., so a lot of our trips focus around going to a temple we’ve never been to together. The St. George temple is a beautiful one – so gleamingly white against the red cliffs and blue sky!

Another one of the fun things we did in St. George was to visit the dinosaur museum.  It is an actual dig site as well, of which my Grandpa Stratton had a part in the initial discovery.  We especially had fun doing our own excavating.

Speaking of Grandpa and Grandma Stratton, we spent Sunday evening with them.  They weren’t able to make the trip up for our wedding, so I was really happy that Devin included them in our honeymoon. We fixed Devin’s fabulous enchiladas for dinner, and laughed a lot as they regaled us with stories of their courtship and early married life together.  They are quite the pair and we love them.

After a couple days in St. George, once again it was time for another white envelope.  Next stop: the Grand Canyon! I was super excited, having never been to the Grand Canyon and always wanting to.  It was a bit of a drive, but we had fun along the way – talking, listening to books on CD, and making random stops at places that looked interesting. We made it to the Grand Canyon in time for a nice dinner and a beautiful sunset.

Our first full day at the Grand Canyon was spent pretty much entirely on the most demanding hike I’ve ever taken.  It was awesome! We had SO much fun, even though at one point (okay, maybe for the whole hike back up for me) we weren’t sure we’d make it back to the rim alive and with our lower limbs. We love the outdoors, and the Grand Canyon is definitely one of the most strikingly amazing places we’ve been to. 

I cannot even begin to describe to you our soreness upon waking the next morning! It was quite hilarious, although painful.  Needless to say, we took it a little slower the rest of our time at the Grand Canyon!  We still had fun visiting different lookouts, restaurants, gift shops, and historic places…we just had a taste of the pace of life we’ll have fifty years in the future!

On our way to the next location of fun, we stopped at the Hoover Dam and toured around their museum inside – we learned so much!  It was pretty fascinating to see in-person, and really appealed to Devin’s engineering side.

The subsequent white envelope  took us to this lovely place – the Las Vegas temple.  Our experience inside that peaceful place was drastically different to the rest of our night in the city!  It was my first and perhaps last time in Las Vegas, although our wanderings were still enjoyable – dinner at a Brazilian churrascaria and watching the fountain show a couple times at the Bellagio.

We flew out the next morning to Houston and were surprised to be picked up at the airport by a limousine!  Traveling in style! It took us to the wrong hotel, however, but luckily the right one was just down the street. Also luckily, we at least didn’t have to lug my suitcases to the right hotel, because they had never arrived at the airport (they were delivered to Devin’s parents’ house that night).  The next morning, Devin ran a 5K with his little sister, Alaire, and I tagged along as photographer.  We hung out with Devin’s family and my parents, who flew in for the reception we had that night at Devin’s parents’ church building.

Our second reception was fairly different than the first – or maybe it just seemed so to me, because I hardly knew a soul there.  We did get to eat a lot more food this time, and we danced more – it was more relaxed and a less hectic day overall.  J  I am very grateful to my parents for coming and joining in the festivities.  They stayed through the next day and we all went to church together, and we had fun opening our presents that night.  People are so generous! At both of our receptions we were given so much – we’re very thankful for all the help people gave us to start our marriage out. 

The last day of our honeymoon we flew out of Houston to Las Vegas, then drove all day.  We enjoyed our eleven day adventure so much - it was a terrific start to our marriage, with many exquisitely happy memories.  We arrived home in Provo in the late evening – home! to continue our joyful eternity together…