Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The New Addition To Our Family! Meet Crew!

This little guy is the product of Dozer (our dog) and Diamond (Jake's parent's dog).  They had 5 boys and we decided to keep one of them.  Dozer has been a little lonely on the boat and we thought he could use a friend.  Now that we are not working we will be home a lot more too, but Dozer could still use a playmate.  Meet Crew!  He is about 4 months old and as cute as ever! He makes funny noises like Dozer.  He loves to cuddle and is such a sweetie! When it is time for treats he is the most excited.  We love him, and we are so happy he is part of our little family now! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

First Day As A Nomad

                 I had an unsettling feeling Thursday, realizing that it was my last day at work.  I was sad, happy, nervous, and excited all at the same time.  Jake and I put in our notices to our jobs a couple weeks back and we have been preparing for what will come next.  We are starting a new chapter in our life.  With the dream to travel the world, we have been saving our money to take some time off, and explore.  Doing what most don't, we are saying goodbye to the monotony and setting sail to explore the sea.  Others may think we are running from responsibility, and making a poor decision, but over the past year and a half we have been working towards and saving for this dream.  We see it as a long vacation full of discovery and education about the world we live in.  We are hoping to explore the culture and land of the Caribbean and beyond.  We want to learn from different cultures and share with them what we know.  As we make friends and acquaintances we hope to encourage ocean conservation and show them the wonders of the sea.
                  It is nerve racking making such a huge life change, but I feel free.  We are making a leap of faith, believing that all of our hard work and preparation will give us one of the best experiences we could have.  There is an amazing feeling of peace and confidence in me.  I feel like I can conquer the world.  Since we have left our jobs we are free to leave island and explore.  Our first plan is to go to the states and see family and friends.  We are excited to spend Christmas in Utah with snow! when I say we, I mean me.  Jake could live without the cold ;).  After the holidays we will make our way back to St. Thomas, prepare our boat, and set sail.  We still have a lot to do, but we are so excited to be close to pulling the dock lines and sailing away.
                Yesterday was my first day being a nomad.  I went to the beach, cook care of my responsibilities at home, and then we enjoyed "Miracle on Main", a Christmas celebration featuring a boat parade, food vendors and holiday shopping in downtown Charlotte Amalie.  Today is Jake's official last day of work, he may work a couple random days before we leave, but he is thrilled to be stepping into the nomad life with me.  Here are some pictures and video from last night, "Miracle on Main". (they are blurring, I forgot my camera, so my phone had to do.)

Kids Steel Pan Band

Gelato with Christmas Lights!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Lot to Be Thankful For!

Pie, turkey, stuffing, and all the fixings.  Thanksgiving was wonderful. The last two years we just contributed a portion of dinner, but this year Jake volunteered to cook.  It was fun to celebrate the holiday.  I miss being with my family and actually celebrating holidays.  Working in the hospitality industry makes it hard to get that time off.  This year was great though.  I spent my day off (the day before Thanksgiving) making pies.  Thanksgiving day, Jake and I turned on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and cooked through the morning before I had to head to work.  I worked a couple hours then enjoyed dinner with family and friends.  We were thankful for this Thanksgiving.  It was a wonderful day to focus on everything we have to be thankful for.  Jake and I are making a lot of changes in our life, and we are very grateful that we have the opportunity to do so.  Here are some pictures from the day.  Happy Thanksgiving! Remember to always be thankful!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Sit on a Jury"

As a teenager I created a dream list.  A list of things that I wanted to do in life.  One of the items on that list was "Sit on a jury".  I'm not sure why this was on my list, but it is something that not everyone gets to do.   As we get into adulthood and receive that summons to appear for jury selection we often get frustrated with the burden.  With the responsibilities of adulthood, marriage, family, school etc. ,it becomes something that we don't have the desire to make time for.  In September when I got that letter informing I had to report to court for jury duty, I had mixed feeling.  The period for which I was called was 3 months.  Oct. through Dec.   If you ask me that is a very long time.  We were asked to fill out a questionnaire, answering some simple questions about our background, we attended orientation and then were instructed to call the jury line to be informed weekly if we needed to appear for jury selection.
On an island, I am sure it is hard to find able jurors that don't know someone associated with the case, so I had determined I would probably be selected often.  So far, out of 6 cases I have been selected for 2.  The first case, we were dismissed early and we were unable to deliberate, however my second case, we just completed and I could not pass up the opportunity to blog about the experience.

Sitting on a jury was a nice break from the everyday work routine.  Though we didn't have access to media or our cell phones, and we were asked to sit in a room full of strangers for an unpredictable amount of time, it was something new.

The first day of trial didn't have much of an impact on me.   I stayed alert, listened and followed my instructions, keeping an open mind and doing my best to be a fair juror.  On breaks and recesses, we were asked not to discuss the case with anyone.   Because of this we were all able to get to know each other a little better, we were laughing and arguing together all day.  When we were excused for the day and asked to return for a second day none of us were surprised, but some were frustrated the courts were taking away another beach day for them.  I wasn't frustrated because I knew that this was an important process.  It was something that no one really liked to do, however someone had to be able to sit on that jury and give the accused that chance to plead their case.  I felt frustrated by my other jurors who were selfishly thinking they had more important things to attend to.  In my mind, we had a gentleman's life in our hands, we were there to make sure that the justice system was fair either proving him guilty or not guilty.

The second day was unpredictable, we didn't know whose voice we were going to hear,  we didn't know how long it would take. This second day really had an impact on me.  We were able to hear from the defendant.  The person who was accused of this crime.  As he sat on the stand and spoke to us, answering or not answering the questions from counsel we were able to hear his voice not just his lawyers.  Something very important that a juror has to keep in mind, is that it is very important to not make decisions based on sympathy.  As the defendant spoke, I felt sympathy, I think we all did, and I am sure that was a slight tactic from the defense.  The sympathy we felt was something we had to ignore.  We had to look only at the facts and the evidence provided to us.  So even though the sympathy was presented to us, making us see the defendant more as a person, and not just a crime, we had to be very careful with our judgement.  As each side rested their case, I was thankful for the judges role.  The judge informed us again of our duty, the law and the rules of a juror as he did at the beginning of the trial.  He informed us that we must make a decision based only on evidence that was presented in court, we were asked to be fair and impartial.  We were asked to take this seriously.  We were asked to do our best and come to a unanimous decision.

As we deliberated, the time went by fast.  We were focused, we knew what we needed to discuss.  We were all able to state our opinion, we saw how different things are interpreted different by different people, we saw the whole process of trial by jury come to a final decision. We took our time, we knew we had made our decision.
I was anxious as we walked back into the courtroom, I was anxious to see the defendants face, the counsels faces, and I was thankful to have been able to be a part of this system.  As our foreperson read that we find the defendant not guilty, I just watched. I watched the facial expressions, I was relieved the process was complete.  I then witnessed the defendant sit down a chair and break down crying.  We were excused from the courtroom, and as we walked back to the deliberations room, many of us shed tears.  I couldn't stop the tears from coming, but I knew when I started to cry that they were tears of relief.  I was certain we made the right decision,and the tears came by being overwhelmed with relief.

Now I know why I had "sit on a jury" on my dream list.  This is an experience that was humbling, enlightening, and fulfilling.  I felt empowered, I felt like I was able to truly be fair and impartial in every aspect. There is so much going on in this world.  Everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings, the people they associate with and learn right from wrong.  I believe this gentlemen got a second chance, and I hope that he finds a life away from the projects, and away from people that will bring him down.

During the whole process I was wishing that my fellow jurors would look at the big picture.  I wanted them to look at the trial by jury process and know that at any point it could be any of us fighting for justice.  We could be fighting for justice for ourselves, family or friends who may have been a victim or the accused.  I was able to see the flaws in the system.  I was able find a greater respect for everyone around me.  I gained respect for prosecutors, defense attorneys, fellow jurors, and judges.  This process is not easy.  I know now that I am thankful for this experience, and I see the burden it has on people, not only because it doesn't fit into their schedule, it is a great responsibility that is very stressful.  I am thankful that I didn't feel the stress, but stayed focused.  Those tears of relief were the one thing that made me realize what a stressful and meaningful experience this was.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Adventures in Puerto Rico… Again. Anniversary Trip Off St. Thomas

Puerto Rico has really been an escape for us recently, so when our anniversary was coming up we decided to head over for another weekend of fun.  We didn't have any set plans on what to do, but found some quickly.  We went to West Marine again to pick up boat supplies, and went to the mall for some window shopping.  We grabbed lunch at Macaroni Grill, which was delicious! Our waitress asked if we had plans for that night and she mentioned this huge costume party/concert that was going on.  She invited us, gave us her number, told us where to get costumes and tickets, and we decided to make plans.  To avoid expensive last minute costume shopping, we went and bought some face makeup to transform ourselves into zombies…this way we could wear our normal clothes and still be in costume. 
After we secured our attire for the night we had some extra time to explore.  We decided to visit the Bacardi factory, which offers free tours and teaches you a little Caribbean history. It was cool to see.

We got lost trying to find our hotel, but finally located it after the front desk gave us turn by turn directions. Doing our zombie make up was quite the task and it could have looked better, but it turned out just fine.  We caught a cab to the party, assuming parking would be crazy.  We followed others in costumes and got our place in line.  There had to of been thousands and thousands of people there.  It took us 2 1/2 hours to get in.  They have you go through metal detectors and pat you down which made me feel safe.  Snoop Dogg was the main act for the night but they also featured LMFAO and others.  It was fun to get dressed up, eat pizza at 2am, stay out until 3am and enjoy people watching with all the crazy costumes!

We slept in the next morning (when I say slept in that would be until 7am), had free breakfast at the hotel and then headed out to explore some more.  We took a drive up the coast a little bit, ran into a random parade, and spent our last few hours relaxing with nothing to do.  It was a nice get away and it was great to spend time together. 

It is crazy to think it has been 2 years since we got married.  I know that is really nothing in the big picture of things, but it is still better than one! :)  Even though marriage is hard work, we are enjoying every minute of it.  Everyday I feel so blessed to have my best friend by my side.  So here is to another Puerto Rico adventure, 2 years of marriage and many more adventures and years to come!

Here are some pictures from our trip. 

On the plane

Bacardi Factory

Pictures from "Circotic" celebrating Halloween with the Puerto Ricans.

Exploring the coast

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Weekend in Puerto Rico

A couple weeks ago Jake and I were in need of a vacation.  We were starting to get snappy and impatient with the society that we live and work in.  Exasperated, annoyed, unhappy, and/or frustrated are the words I would use to describe my state.  We needed to get away from all the annoyances that we have on a daily basis.  Jake called me to see what days I had off, we conveniently had the same days off and it was a Saturday, Sunday. HALLELUJAH!  He booked us on a flight out early Saturday morning, with a returning flight Sunday night.  Our cousin Nici was willing to watch dozer, hotel rooms and rental cars were cheap so we were set.  

We packed the few things we needed Saturday morning, dropped Dozer off, and then headed to the airport.  The flight over is a breeze, only about 25 minutes in the air at the most.  We landed and I felt like skipping down the airport.  We were in a whole new world.  We caught the shuttle to Enterprise to pick up our car.  We were instantly reminded how good the service is, how pleasant the people are, and we welcomed it all with giant smiles! 

Day 1:

After getting our rental car we headed out for breakfast.   We didn’t eat at the best place, however there are no Denny’s on St. Thomas so it was a little bit of a treat.  After breakfast we hit the stores.  We went to the mall, Old Navy, West Marine, Best Buy, Costco, Walgreen's, and many more retailers that we do not have in St. Thomas.  We bought things we needed and window shopped for the rest.  It is always nice to be in an area where you have so many resources, so many things that you take for granted until you don’t have access to it.  I know that these are first world problems, but I am so grateful for all of these places now that I don’t have them, and it is such a treat to find things you haven’t had for months. We concluded our shopping and went for lunch.  Can you say “MEXICAN FOOD”!!!   We were so excited, to have Mexican food.  Being from Utah and Wyoming we were used to eating a lot of delicious “Fresh Mex” and Mexican food, however there is not one good Mexican restaurant in St. Thomas.  This is something that we really miss. 

Following our delicious lunch we headed out to some more stores to check out prices on some things we needed, and then headed to the hotel.  We got to the hotel and there was a problem with our reservation.  It was not in the system even though we were certain it was confirmed. OOPS.  They were sold out.  Option #2… stay at The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan.  We made a reservation online, we were able to get a good price considering the luxury and headed that way.  The property was beautiful and the ladies and gentlemen there really made us feel at home.  After settling in and taking a rest we showered and got ready for the night.  We made plans to go to a movie and have a date night.  Got to the theater right before the movie was supposed to start, and the line was around the building.  We are not used to being around so many people.  Puerto Rico has so many people, and they like the movies as much as we do.    We decided to scrap the movie idea and think of something else to do for date night. 

Earlier in the day we had driven past some big white tents, we questioned if it was a carnival or something that would be going on at night, so we found our way there.  Turns out it was a circus! An ice skating circus!   We figured out what seats were best using broken Spanish and asking for translations and bought our tickets for the extravaganza.  After sitting down Jake and I were all smiles as vendors walked around selling popcorn, caramel apples, cotton candy etc.  Clowns came out to entertain before the show and it felt like a real event.  Living on an island we don’t get too many events.  The big one is carnival every year, and that is really the only excitement.  We had a great time and couldn’t believe that we stumbled upon an ice skating circus.  It was so random and funny, we still laugh thinking about it. 

Day # 2

We have been exhausted and really could have used some more sleep, but we didn't want to waste any of our time in Puerto Rico. We woke up early, collected our camera equipment and went out to Old San Juan to shoot some photos in the best morning light.  We had some technical difficulties with lenses, so didn't get too much, but we still had fun walking around and capturing the beauty of the old town.  

After all the picture taking we got breakfast and headed back to the hotel.  It was time to enjoy The Ritz-Carlton.  We put our swimsuits on and enjoyed some much needed relaxation by the pool, walking the beach and just doing absolutely nothing.   It was wonderful! 

Check out was a couple hours later, so we collected our things and headed to the car, got lunch, cold stoned ice cream, ran a couple errands, and it was time to head to the airport to get back to St. Thomas.  We were sad for the weekend to end,  however we enjoyed every second of it.  Here are some pictures we snapped along the way! 

Just landed.  Waiting for Enterprise shuttle.
We were so excited for Mexican food!

Some of the stores we visited…

Costco. I miss seeing fresh flowers at the market.  I miss everything about Costco.

Yay for Recycling!
The Mall
So many people, so many cars, not used to this!
I need to learn Spanish, for safety reasons. 
Happy to be spending time together!
The Circus

Relaxing by the pool at The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan

Time to head back to the rock. :(

I thought it was funny how they printed my name with MRS. 
Sad the weekend is over. 
Waiting in airports make me bored…. and I do things like this.

Exhausted, but happy to have gotten away!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Busy Times... Here is an Update!

This morning Jake said, “Thank you for coming on a walk with me, I have felt like a single parent lately, doing everything by myself.”
Meaning a single parent to our dog Dozer, picking up laundry and running any normal business hour errands that I am unable to accomplish because of my work schedule.   As well as most all meals, dishes etc. because of my exhaustion. 

Life has been crazy.  I have been working doubles most days of the week or working opposite hours than Jake.  He works in the mornings, while I work mornings and nights or just nights.  We haven’t had much time together lately.  I have gotten 1 day off each week for the past 2-3 weeks.  We are really appreciating the small amounts of time we get to spend together.  We are working a lot to save money, living a pretty monotonous life.  However, there are a few things that are new but taking trend in our lives.

New Accessories

While we were in the states, Jake and I visited the eye doctor.  I needed new glasses with a little bit stronger prescription.  So we pick them out and placed an order for them.  Jake’s mom picked them up for us and mailed them this last week.  They are a bit trendy compared to my last ones, and I can see just a little clearer. It has taken a bit for me to feel comfortable rocking them, but I’ve got my confidence now.

Olukai Sandals
I have written about these sandals in the past so you know that Jake and I both absolutely love the comfort and quality.  One of the surf stores in St. John was having a big sale.  Almost everything in the store was 40% off.  These Olukais are not cheap, so when we find a sale we jump on it.  Jake and I each got a pair and we are very happy with them.  If they would have had more in our size we would have gotten more than one pair.  These will do for now ;)

New Recipes

Jake and I have both tried a couple recipes for the first time.  I am going to be honest and upfront with this… Jake’s definitely turned out better than my attempt.  He is definitely the cook in our family.

Banana Pancakes (my attempt)

I found a post on Facebook with a Banana Pancake Recipe it was simply just 2 eggs and a banana all mixed together.  I liked this recipe because it is using all whole foods.  Nothing processed or canned which is refreshing.  I ended up using 3 bananas and 3 eggs. I threw in some delicious blueberries to add a little more pop. I also added a thin layer of peanut butter on the top of mine.   It worked out nice.  Jake really needs more substance than this so this will not be a trend but I actually kind of liked them. 

Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Jake has mastered this recipe.  Oh my goodness. It is a little taste of heaven for dinner or lunch.  He has perfected the marinade as well as the toppings.  Caramelized onions, avocado, a little goat cheese with lettuce and tomato atop the Portobello mushroom really makes our taste buds happy! 

Delicious Chicken

I don’t know what it is called but it was new and absolutely delightful!  I do not have a documented picture either. I apologize.  I took one bite and didn’t think twice about a photo because I was enjoying it so much.

New Habits

Sparkling Natural Mineral water (my new favorite)