December 25, 2009

ONE year with the ONE I love

It is hard to believe that we've been married for ONE YEAR already. The time has flown by super fast! This year has been so full of love, laughter, travel, adventure, and growth. I have the happiest, healthiest, sweetest marriage. I couldn't be more blessed!

I gave Ben a sear for grilling with our initials "BS." The initials represent us and it is something that will last our marriage. I wrapped it in paper that I wrote words about our year on. I made the funniest card for him...just imagine a picture of Ben when he was about 3 years old, squating with two feet on the toilet seat, holding his wee wee to aim in the toilet, a smile wide across his face. Inside I wrote: "You've got mad skills! That's why I married you." Clever. I know. :)

Ben totally showed me up on the whole gift thing and planned a backpacking trip to the Dominican Republic! We got off the boat from the family cruise in Florida and hopped on a plane to the DR where we spent 12 spectacular days.

Doing something that you love with someone that you love = happiness

Ok ok we finally did realize we were crazy once we were lying in a bed with Winnie the Pooh sheets, dying of heat, in a strangers home whom we had known for an hour, in the middle of a foreign country, in one of the most dangerous parts of town...

We met this sweet little lady, Ada, on the airplane. When she learned that we were going to get off the plane and find a place to stay the night, she insisted that we stay with her. She wouldn't take any payment and kept saying the Lord would bless her. She even served us breakfast in the morning and drove us to the bus station. Thankfully it worked out to be safe and sweet.

So that is where our adventure ONLY began...
After a 3 hour bus ride, seated like sardines, we arrived in a little town, El Cedro, located on the northern shores, where we then took a 20 minute motorcycle ride to a bed and breakfast on Playa Limon (Lemon Beach). We were the only tourists staying there, we had miles of beach to ourselves!

Our daily walk to the beach consisted of palm trees and wild horses:

Man's best friend, "Tigre," lived at the house we stayed at and he was our guard dog. He would take us to the beach and stay with us, chasing away any strangers or animals, and guarding our things from the local fisherman that were sometimes around while we swam in the ocean.

One day we climbed a nearby mountain...from the top we could see rolling hills, and endless ocean. It was just us, the swings, the breeze, and the open blue sky.

Another day, we rode a paddle boat through a lagoon which lead to the ocean:
After 5 nights at Playa Limon, we packed our backpacks and made our way south to a little fisherman village, Boca De Yuma. We stayed in such a pretty Italian owned villa.

On the day of our ANNIVERSARY we went horseback riding to a secluded cave with a natural spring of clear water which we enjoyed swiming in:

Afterwards, we were still feeling a little adventurous and we SWAM to a little island we could see from the shore:

We had a romantic ANNIVERSARY DINNER at a little restaurant overlooking the Caribbean Sea. We shared the Dominican Republics national fish, the Butu, for dinner...absolutely delicious!
After a few days in the southeastern coast we headed to the capitol city, Santo Domingo to finish out our adventure! We made previous arrangements to meet up with close family friends of the Snarrs, Kay and Cheryl Briggs, who have been living there for the last three years serving the church. We met at the LDS Temple, in the heart of the city. There we were able to witness a beautiful sealing ceremony of a family from French Guyana, and Kay was the officiator.

Kay and Cheryl were generous and kind to let us stay with them in their beautiful home right next door to the Temple. There we were close to the city and sites.

We visited the Christopher Columbus home:

Modelo Market:

Old Town Square:

The first Christian Cathedral in the New World:

Columbus Park:

Downtown Market:

All in all, it was an adventure, with my adventuresome husband. A great way to wrap up 2009.

December 24, 2009

LFO: Larsen Family Reunion 2009

Believe it or not Ben and I had our first date at the Larsen Family Reunion in Rexburg, Idaho back in June 2008. I was attending BYU-Idaho and Ben was visiting from LA and told me to "permanent marker" him into my schedule. I ended up at a cabin meeting all his relatives and playing games with all of his cousins until 3am. So it was such a sweet experience to reunite with all his relatives again, yet this time married, at the Larsen Family Reunion on the Carribbean Seas 2009!

Uncle Dallin and Uncle Randy were in charge this year and took about 100 of us on a crusie to Jamaica and Haiti. We had so much fun catching up with the relatives at the dinner table, playing games in the lounge every night, climbing Dunns River Falls in Jamiaca, taking Snarr family photos on the beach in Haiti, enjoying shows on the ice skating rink or auditorium, laughing as Tony and Abby were on stage for the newly wed game, watching the guys play in the volleyball competition, Uncle Rick in the belly flop competition, Ben in the scavenger hunt, young Palmer in the rockcliming competion, and most of all spending quality time with so many of our family members.