Masthead header
Nate & Luisa bio picture
  • WE ARE…

    ... THE PERKES. We still consider ourselves newlyweds [we've been married for almost 5 years]. Our firstborn, Jace, is now 2 years old, and became a big brother when Sofia Rain joined our family in November 2012. We are from the East Coast [Luisa is from MA and Nate is from NH]. We are Bronco's Fans [We've lived in the Boise area for almost 5 years]. We are travelers. We are athletes and we are dancers. We are enthusiastic about food. We are spontaneous. We are addicted to the sun. We are in love.

    Most importantly... we are HAPPY. We are the Perkes.

End of Year Video 2011…

Oscar B. Morales - Lusa and Nate; Wow !!! It so good to see the wonderful sites, pictures, and happy, that you were able to have in 2011. Most of all to be able to see Jace through the lens. Mom and I just sat down after putting Cam and Brooke to bed and enjoyed every secong of this video, what a date!!!

Looking forward to the 2012 video;

Love Papadaddy and Nana Morales

Leanne - hey you! i LOVED the video. looks like you guys know how to have a good time!! :) that baby jace is ONE.CUTE.KID!!!!! i’m so glad we were able to see you guys as you passed through st. George. I LOVE YOU woman! hope to see you soon!!

love,
Queenie

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

What an amazing Christmas we had this year!! We had good food, wonderful people surrounding us, wonderful traditions to be made and others continued, great games to be played and lots of loves and laughs. Here we are shopping for our Christmas tree [we went and got it early this year!! Unfortunately, because of our over eagerness to usher in the season, it wilted weeks before Christmas even came]:In Nate’s family, they have made it a tradition to read Luke 2, the Christmas Story and act it out. Mom & Dad Perkes had these beautiful costumes made for our pageant performance. Here are my boys during our dress rehearsal:And then here they are transformed into a shepherd and his little lamb:Here is our entire cast all gathered around Mary, Joseph and the manger. We had a choir of angels, shepherds and a lamb and three wise men bearing gifts. A beautiful little angel even gave our ‘precious infant’ a kiss. We sang carols and there was such a joyous and festive spirit to our gathering. After that, we had what we call our ‘Jerusalem Dinner’. It is an assortment of foods that would probably have been served during Christ’s life (i.e. crackers and cheeses, dried fruits, grapes, nuts, ‘unleavened bread’, olives, etc.):Merry Christmas morning, Jace!!! Here he is in his pajamas that he got the night before.Opening presents from our family back in Boston…. I hope to someday get him to wear this adorable scarf!!One of his first tastes of candy and his very first Candy Cane!!By far, his favorite gift that he received was a helicopter with 4 balls. Ever since, he ALWAYS has to have a ball in each hand. He loves to play catch or fetch…. whichever, and he throws a BIG fit if one of his balls gets stuck underneath the couch or beside the fridge. His Grandpa Perkes has been calling Jace ‘our little Viking’, because he is just SO sturdy and solid, and blonde haired, blue eyed little boy. He got this ADORABLE little Viking hat which goes SO perfectly with his persona. A couple pictures above, Jace is shown in a traditional green Peruvian sweater which clearly needs to be worn on St. Patty’s Day. He is just a  MELTING POT of ethnicity!! We’ve got a Scottish Viking, a Peruvian Leprechaun, and an Italian, English, Dutch, Hispanic mix. I had to try something new this year. At my house we make pizzelles, which are an Italian/Sicilian pastry that is a very thin cookie made in a machine like a waffle maker. You can eat them flat with a sprinkling of powdered sugar [they look like snowflakes!!] OR… you can curl them while they are still warm and let them harden to be stuffed and fashioned into a CANNOLLI!!! We did a little bit of both. We had fun making different fillings and experimenting with decorations and varieties. We even had a resident expert. Max, Nate’s little brother, returned from his mission to Milan, Italy almost a year ago. It was my first time, so I have a lot to learn, but I can’t wait to try them again!!!For New Years, again we were with family. We made ‘arepas’ which are an El Salvadorian dish that was just TO DIE FOR!! That might have been another tradition in the making, because they were just SO, SO good. Here is Jace… still awake at midnight. He wasn’t a big fan AT ALL of all the loud noises and hoopla, but he’ll get used to it, I suppose. When I was a kid, we were banging on pots and pans as hard as we could. Haha!! What an amazing year we have had!! We are SO excited for 2012 and all the new and exciting adventures that await us. Happy Holidays everyone and here’s to a wonderful new year to come!!!

yahoo - Hey, you used to write magnificent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring?I miss your tremendous writings. Past several posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

googleblog - Some truly quality articles on this web site , saved to my bookmarks .

Fatma - Hey Bart, Thanks very much for the good words. I appreciate it. It would be about 275 for a seat like that. I built the foam from scrtach so I can style yours any way you like. Are you in the twin cities? Stop by the shop or if you are out of town throw the pan in a box and send it off. If you do I’ll give you my home address. Thanks Bart.Nate

Thanksgiving…

We had a great day for Thanksgiving and we spent it with Nate’s brother and sister-in-law. It was such a sweet and gorgeous day. This is the third time that Kate and I have worked on Thanksgiving together, and it gets a bit easier every year. While we were preparing dinner, it was so cute to watch the boys and the kids playing ball outside. Featured above are the place settings that Gracie, my niece and I, made. The kids loved them. Here was our menu:

Appetizers:
Apple Dip
Artichoke Dip
Pineapple Cheese Ball

Dinner:
Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Yams
Jalapeño Corn
Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Rolls

Pies:
Razzleberry
Cherry
Apple Crumble
Pecan
Snickers
Coconut Cream
Pumpkin

I have grown up with a tradition in my family to go around the table and talk about the things that we are thankful for. I think it’s a really great idea to help remind everyone of the real reasons why we celebrate this holiday. Although I didn’t get to say all of these, I wanted to remind myself of what I’m truly grateful for [In No Particular Order]:

NATE & JACE, Books, Food, Sunshine, Laughter, Music, Dancing, Beauty, Animals, My Christ, Queenie, My Mom & Dad, Mom & Dad Perkes, My Siblings, Emotion, True Love, Charity, Soft Pajamas, Fresh Fruit, Smoothies, Being a Mom, Temples, Warmth, The Spirit, Peace, Health for myself & my family, Taste, Being Held, A Working Vehicle, A Sound Mind, Burgers & Fries, Joyful Tears, Grass, Picnics, Boating, Speed, Wind, Being Able to Cook, Brit V., Sunday Afternoon Naps, Accomplishing Much, Waking Early, The Scriptures, Contacts, Modern Medicine, Being Treated Like Goddess by My Husband, The Atonement – that makes it so easy for me to say sorry and be forgiven, Chocolate, Babies, Old People, Making People Feel Loved & Special, Christmas, Bubble Baths, Foot Massages, Fresh, Clean, Cool, Crisp Forest Air, Water, Fire, Flowers, the Ocean.

The Chance to Become Better
The Chance to Go Home

The Grand Canyon Marathon…

I have been imagining this trip for the past 6 months. When I registered to run the Grand Canyon Marathon, Nate and I decided that we were going to make a HUGE trip out of it. With all the energy and enthusiasm that Nate could muster [which is a lot...], he planned a 2 week vacation where we could explore the wonders of Arizona and Southern Utah. I was definitely apprehensive about how Jace would handle 17 hours each way in the car, but he was wonderful. Nate planned it perfectly that we wouldn’t have to drive any one leg of the journey for more than 5-6 hours at a time. We left Boise on Sunday, the 6th and traveled to Springdale, UT, which is a tiny town right outside of Zion’s National Park, our first official stop, just one hour west of St. George.
In SLC, we picked up our rental car, because honestly, our little “Mitsu-shishi” would not have survived the trip. This Ford Explorer is now my dream car… Sigh. Maybe someday. Actually, probably not. ; )Due to my preparations for the race, I was supposed to take it relatively easy; no hiking and minimal activity. If it hadn’t been for some great books to read, than I would have gone batty. The system we established was that Nate would take off in the early, early morning to get sunrise pictures, and I would sleep in with Jace. After his morning nap, Jace and I would go on walks and explore the charming little tourist towns that would surround the parks. Below is one of the hikes that Nate did called Angel’s Landing. It was pretty treacherous, but he had a blast. At the top, he was attacked by rabid chipmunks, but the view was worth it. After his long hikes, he would come back, get Jace and I and we would take lunch into the park and ‘leisurely stroll’.
This was another of Nate’s long hikes called The Subway. It was 10 miles long and Nate thought he might die a few times, but he made it back to us safely and had this beautiful image to show for it.

This is the first of 3 Panorama pictures that Nate took. You can use the mouse to scroll around within the picture.

On the 4th day of our trip, we were changing locations from Zions to Page, AZ. Nate and I were booked to do a tour of Antelope Canyon, and as we were pulling up to meet our tour guide, I saw these two figures leaning against a wall. I kind of chuckled and thought that it might just be some cute locals starting their day with the morning paper. But as we drove closer, I saw eye holes… and then the papers were shaking with laughter…. and all of a sudden, they whipped them away, and simultaneously I started scream my lungs out!!!! Mom & Dad Perkes had come to cheer me on!!!! I’m the luckiest girl in the world!!

Horseshoe BendThe entrance to Antelope CanyonQuite possibly my favorite shot of the entire trip…From Page, AZ we finally made it to the Grand Canyon. Our little brother Max, and his sweetheart, Ashlee came down from Provo to join us and I was SO PSYCHED to have them there!! THIS is our very first view of the Grand Canyon. My eyes could barely comprehend what I was seeing, almost like they wouldn’t focus. I think that the US Government has been tricking us the whole time, and it’s actually the worlds biggest green screen.
Jace and I were equally blessed to have Mom and Dad here to take care of him. So that I might be able to get enough sleep the night before the race, he had a slumber party with his grandparents. I doubt that even I am able to take better care of him than they do. I am so, so grateful that they came. Here I am in the EARLY morning of the race at the starting line. I have 4 layers on, and I am so glad that I did. The concept is that you bundle up and then strip the “wicking layers” and chuck them as the day warms and as you warm up. The forecast had called for a snow storm that day with freezing temperatures, but it turned out to be the most glorious, sunny, beautiful day I could have ever wished for.
Meanwhile, my supportive fans got to arise a little later than I did…The first 16 miles were along the rim of the Canyon, and then the last 10 miles were through the National Forest into the little town of Tusayan. The entire course was hilly, which was very exhausting, and the part through the forest was ridden with mud pits, slicks of ice, cattle guards and active railroad tracks. NOT ideal conditions. I didn’t dare hope [but I did] that Nate would find a way to see me on the course. At Mile 16, I heard him before I saw him and was so, so happy that he was there. He got a BIG FAT KISS, and then I trucked on [I know that I look pretty frumpalicious in those brown pants, but I chucked them anyways at Mile 17 when the mud got really bad. Besides, staying warm was the priority].My fans waiting at the finish line…The very last leg…Crossing the finish line!!!The moment I had been waiting for…

I was literally treated like royalty, which made running the marathon worth it. ; ) I got to sit down, which alone was heavenly, and Nate brought me some sandwiches and ORANGES [the best tasting thing on the planet at that moment]. I got wrapped up in ‘aluminum foil’ and then they took off my running shoes [another taste of heaven] and got me into my sweats and slippers. It was… just wonderful. They let me nap the day away after I soaked in a hot bath and then we went out and had a celebratory dinner at the ‘Arizona Room’. It was a wonderful, perfect, glorious day!Running this marathon brought with it a myriad of emotions and epithets. The race itself was riddled with feelings of exhilaration, camaraderie, exhaustion, despair, pain, power, gratefulness, love and desperation to ‘come home’ and use my last bit of energy to launch myself to Nate. That scene is what I envisioned EVERY single time that I would run during my training. I would imagine myself crossing the finish line and collapsing into Nate’s arms. Through this experience I learned that I am the master of myself. I control everything about ME, and that is a hugely empowering emotion. I also learned that I can do hard things, and coming to realize that has changed my life. I can do ANYTHING, especially things that are hard. Probably the most wonderful ‘understanding’ came to me around Mile 9-10 of the race. I am running along the rim. I am feeling strong and energized. I look over to my right and I see the wide expanse of the Canyon. A part of me feels small, but the greater part of me feels like a champion. I haven’t done it quite yet, but TODAY I AM BECOMING A MARATHONER!! Regardless of how big that Canyon is, today I am bigger. In fact, ALWAYS I am bigger. My Heavenly Father loves me MORE than the greatest of His material creations. TO HIM, I matter more than the 7 Wonders of the World. The most powerful Being in the Universe is my Father and I am His precious daughter. Marathoner OR NOT, He loves me perfectly. That pure knowledge is worth running a hundred marathons.
The next day was Sunday, and after a life-changing lunch of Beef Stroganoff we went to church at a tiny LDS branch. I hobbled around for the next couple of days. Mostly it was just my left knee and hips that hurt the most, but I alternated hot and cold compresses and got better lickety-split! By Monday morning, our family had departed, and it pained us to see them go. We enjoyed our time with them SO MUCH! Playing games and spoiling Jace and seeing the wonders of the Canyon together… and EATING, of course [mine and Dad's favorite activity]!!! Nate and I left Monday afternoon and here are our last pictures with the Canyon.

On we were to the next chapter of our adventure: MOAB and Arches National Park!! It was during this drive that we wished we had a sun roof. This was our view [Blasted plane kind of ruined it...] :

Here’s Nate doing a handstand under Delicate Arch:

Sunrise at Mesa Arch:

This is our last day in Arches and we used that time to take family pictures. We had dinner with my brother, Andrew and his beautiful wife, Danella, and Nate’s mission comp, Josh and his lovely wife, Lacey that night in Provo. The next day [after a phenomenal lunch at Zupa's], we finally hit the road to head home.  

Here are pictures of some other dear family and friends that we got to see on our trip. My Aunt Belinda and Uncle Paris:

My dearest friend and sweet mission companion, Leanne and her son Beckham [she also has a beautiful daughter, Eden, and husband, Kevin, that aren't in the photo]:

Nate’s mission companion and friend, Josh and his gorgeously, pregnant wife, Lacey, who were SUCH amazing hosts and friends [thanks for everything guys... we owe you]:

And my brother, Andrew, and his beautiful wife, Danella:

This was quite the life-changing experience. Not only was the marathon itself, and the training included in it, one of the hardest things that I have EVER had to do in my life, but we got to see some of the most beautiful vistas that we’ve ever seen in our lives. It’s been so good to be home, and to unpack and decorate for the holidays. There’s nothing like “Home Sweet Home”. I do have to say to Mom & Dad… thank you, thank you, thank you… for loving me enough to come and cheer me on, for taking care of Jace better than anybody, and for spoiling us all rotten. We love you, miss you, and CAN’T WAIT for Christmas. Oh, and here is Nate’s post about the trip on his photography blog.

Belinda Cranor - Oh Luisa, I am so happy that you were able to be supported by Family. You are so wonderful. It was such a blessing to see you on the way back from Las Vegas. Thanks for meeting us. I have been waiting to see the pictures and they are awesome. Thanks for taking the time to blog it all. I miss you and Nate and Jace. Hope you guys have been having a wonderful Holiday season. Hope to see you soon.
I love you!

Kelley - Oh my gosh, Luisa! Congratulations!!!!!! I’ve been dying to read this post! So happy for you! I am in love with all of your photos from the trip too! Just gorgeous!

Kathryn - Congratulations Luisa! You are amazing! I love your finish line pictures. Such raw emotion made me tear up. All your pictures are beautiful!

Treasure Mercurio - I am proud of you. Love from family, friends,and Heavenly Father will accomplish all things. You are wonderful and am thankful I have known you since you were a little girl from our ward. I am thankfull that you have shared this with us. Great pictures and great writing. Helped to make me feel like I was there cheering you on. You have been given many gifts from our Father more preious then gold and you have opened your gifts and haved used them well! Congradulation for being a winner!!!!! Love you.

Happy Halloween!!

The magic of holidays has quickly infiltrated our home and family now that Nate and I have a child to celebrate with. We have been SO excited to do all the traditions that make holidays so much fun. Last year, I think we missed Halloween completely. Well, THIS YEAR, we took it to some extremes. After we got our pumpkins and Nate had his Dremmel Drill [see 'Pumpkin' Patch Post below], we got to work. Those pumpkins sliced like butter with that drill and this made the whole experience so much more fun and easy. We carved 5 pumpkins! We also took Jace to a Halloween Festival at a local High School [where he got his face painted and got to eat his first piece of candy] and to Trunk Or Treating… it was a blast! After that we headed to a friends party where we stuffed our faces with soups and rolls and raided our children’s’ pillow cases. There has been some debate about whether Jace was a duckling or a chick. Either way… he was just too delicious. ; ) Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Patchin’…

It was one of those transitionary summer-to-fall days. We wore short sleeves. The sun was shining and there was a warm wind blowing, and during Nate’s ‘lunch break’, we decided that we HAD to get out of the house and enjoy the weather before the cold front rolls in. We headed out to the nearest pumpkin patch we could find and had a blast picking out pumpkins. We got some HUGE ONES, some little ones that were just perfectly Jace’s size, some warty gourds and even a white one [which Nate was NOT  a fan of]. Whenever Jace happens to have captured both Nate’s AND my attention, he is happy as a clam. That’s exactly how he was during out little adventure. Being the passionate person that Nate is, he got online and started looking at ALL these reviews about a pumpkin carving tool that will save you mounds of time and a couple of broken kitchen knives. The Dremmel Drill is Nate’s latest favorite toy. And it DID take ALL the hassle out of carving pumpkins, and made it fun and easy. That’s probably why we were able to carve 5 pumpkins [featured in the next Halloween post]. Anyways, we had a blast picking them out!

Something I Believe In…

While running in the early morning, I’ve been listening to some talks on tape and it has been such an uplifting experience. In particular, this one talk had a deep impact on me. The speaker was stressing the importance of filling our days with things that we truly believe in. “Truly believe in…” This phrase kept echoing through my mind, over and over again. Have I enlisted myself in a cause that I truly believe in? Aside from being a mother and wife, what am I DOING with my time that is a ‘worthy cause’? Of course, I am in school online, and being involved in my church and community I find ample opportunities to serve… but as I got to thinking about this, I was reminded of a website that I had stumbled across almost a year ago. It is called Rated Reads.

I am the MOST avid of all readers. I have a goal to read 100 books this year and I am on #79. In my pursuits to be entertained by GREAT books, I have stumbled across my fair share of smut. It is frustrating to be totally engrossed in an otherwise perfectly good story, and then, be utterly blindsided by vulgarity, violence, language or sexuality. It ruins the story for me, and oftentimes I have to put it down despite my desperate curiosity to know the ending. I told Nate about my searches for a censoring website online that would categorize books according to content. I couldn’t find one. “Eventually I’m going to make my own website…” I told Nate. The only predicament is that I would therefore need to read EVERYTHING, including the smut,  in order to have all books rated on my future website. THAT was disheartening apart from the fact that it just seemed overwhelmingly impossible.

But one day… I found it. Rated Reads fell into my lap and gave me both a way to censor my own reading picks, but also to display my findings and write reviews and ratings for the books that I read myself. This will be SO great for when someday, my kids need books to read that I haven’t read before. It feels good to be involved in such a great ’cause’. Big thanks to those who started this amazing project, and thank you for letting me be involved in it.

Heidi - Luisa! I sometimes stalk you on your blog cause I love it! I wanted to tell you – check out local library and ask if they have NoveList. It’s a Reader’s Advisory database that my company sells. Shameless plug, mayhaps, but it’s a great tool for finding your next read or author read-alikes.

Kathryn - Oh sorry. lol it did work the first time

Kathryn - I don’t think my comment worked! I love good clean reads. My blog is cleanteenfiction.blogspot.com, and I also use sites.google.com/site/parentalbookreviews/ to check ratings
Thanks for the Rated reads tip!

Kathryn - Oh, I’m definitely passionate about reading good clean books. I have a whole blog about it! =) I don’t read the bad books though; I only post the clean ones. But I am thankful for those who do read the bad books and post the content rating. Thanks for the tip on Rated Reads. I’ll definitely use that one.
I also use Reading Teen Parental Reviews
My blog is Clean Teen Fiction

Gracie – Lu…

Her middle name is ACTUALLY Katherine [but I call her Gracie-Lu] and Gracie is my 2nd oldest niece. She turned 8 this September 24th, and on her birthday she asked her mom if we could run the St. Luke’s Women’s Fitness 5K together. What an amazing little girl!! To want to do a running event on her birthday speaks of her character. She is just fantastic… SO full of goodness. She radiates kindness and compassion, and she always has an entourage of neighborhood girls, younger and smaller than her following her around, basking in her attention and hanging on her every word. She wants so badly to do what is right. Here are some pictures from our early morning run:About half way through the event, we came across a steep and VERY long hill. And I was so proud of Gracie; she ran the ENTIRE WAY up that hill. When we were nearing the finish line, I can only imagine how tired she must have been, taking two steps, for every ONE of mine. But when we were in sight of the finish line, she asked her mom if we might be able to walk the rest of the way. Kate was so sweet and great, and although being supportive of Gracie’s desire, she said: “If you can just hang on a little bit longer, it will all be over, and we can rest the rest of the day. We’ve got to push hard and finish strong, so that way we know that we did our VERY, very best.” I know I’m a sap… and I’ve always been. But that brought tears to my eyes as we sprinted across the finish line. Gracie did SO good, and  we were so proud of her. The top picture is at the starting line… the bottom picture is right after the finish line. Gracie is a special girl, and I am SO grateful for her presence in my life. She also just got baptized a couple weeks ago, and it was truly a sacred experience. Here are some pictures of her that Nate took a couple weeks before her birthday:

Ringling Brothers- Barnum & Bailey!

Jace got to go to the CIRCUS for the very first time last week!! Although he THOROUGHLY enjoyed all the lights and music, Nate and I really just used him as a good excuse to go ourselves. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!! The pictures below were taken during the pre-show, because no cameras were allowed during the actual performance. At the pre show, the children got autographs from the performers, they got to play dress up, walk the tight rope, learn to juggle, play with the clowns, and see the animals up-close and personal. That’s Rosie the Elephant getting a treat of a full loaf of Wonderbread, for doing so well with her tricks. My favorite act was most definitely the ‘motorcycle cage’. We got ALL the usual snacks that go with the circus: hot dogs, cotton candy, candied nuts and fresh donut holes!! Nate and I will definitely take our little family again… probably when they can actually remember. ; )

Art in the Park…

We happened across it quite by chance. We decided to drive into downtown Boise and have a picnic. We LOVE picnics, and probably have at least one a week in the summer. There were hundreds of booths and thousands of people and we asked the parking attendant what was going on. He replied: “Art in the Park”, definitely with a tone of ‘duh!’ Everyone was selling their wares and their crafts, beautiful pieces of artwork, and some ingenious pieces of handiwork of the utmost creativity. There was even FAIR FOOD!!! Fried dough and caramel apples… GIANT hotdogs and corn on the cob. We had a blast. While perusing the stalls, Nate noticed that there was an unusual amount of mirrors for sale, so we made it our goal to find as many as possible. We tried a few hats on Jace… the pumpkin was applicable to the season, but that owl won the show!! [He HATED that frog- exnay on the rog-fay!!] I LOVE collecting jewelry and there were quite a few pricey rings to look at, but I was more excited to have found my own unique hat to buy at the end of the day. I LOVE these kinds of events and activities, and both Nate and I decided we need to subscribe to the local newspaper or SOMETHING, so we can be informed about all the fun things that go on. Happy Saturday! There just aren’t enough Saturdays in the week. ; )

Berry Picking Twice…

Just down the road from us is a petting zoo/pumpkin patch/berry farm all in one! Coincidentally, it is actually called ‘The Berry Farm”. Who’da thought? Nate and I are fiends for fresh berries and they are quite expensive at the store. So Nate and I decided we were going to go get some of our own! As a child, I specifically remember picking blueberries at a farm in Vermont, and it was heavenly! We had blueberry pancakes nearly every single day for breakfast for weeks after that adventure. Our first attempt was not a success because we came right before they closed, but we had better luck the second time. At this farm, currently the raspberries and the black berries were in season, so we strapped Jace into his ‘off-roading’ stroller and headed out into the wild. And the wild it was… the rows weren’t groomed very well, and there were BEES EVERYWHERE. I did deep breathing exercises to keep from grabbing my baby and running for safety from the swarms. I did well. We took Jace around to see the cows and the sheep, and he was pretty fascinated… but I could have sworn that that bull was going to charge us! When we got home this evening, we made cream cheese and raspberry crepes. They were DIVINE!!!

I know that it looks like we got ‘slim pickin’s ‘ but it was HARD work, and just enough for us! We had so much!! Can’t wait to do it again next year, and maybe do strawberries for jam!

It’s Time I’ve Told…

Just about everyone has a Bucket List, right? At least an unofficial one? On my Bucket List are two very important things to me. One is to see the Grand Canyon someday, and the other is to run a marathon. As my luck would have it, The Grand Canyon itself actually hosts a marathon every year along the outer rim and into the National Forest on one of the adjoining sides. When Jace was born, I was bound and determined to get back into shape. Turns out the timing was perfect. It gave me just enough time to heal and to train. SO!!! In November, on the 12th, Nate, Jace and I will be at the Grand Canyon, doing something that has never been done in our little family before. I can NOT wait to see it all in person. I’ve waited so long to tell because, honestly, I had to know that I was going to do it. I had to get to that point of no return.

This morning was a landmark for me in my training. Every Saturday is my day to do my long runs, and lately they have ALL been ‘the longest I have ever run in my life!!’ But today was different for some reason. Maybe it was because those 17 miles that I ran today, I ran with confidence, with speed and with a smile on my face the whole way. Two weeks ago I ran 13 miles…. it nearly killed me. The week after that, I ran 15 miles in the same amount of time as 13 miles, but also nearly died [it was the first time in my life that I threw up after a work out... and I don't EVER throw up]. Today, I ran 17 miles in only 9 minutes longer than my 15 mile run. The weather was perfect, sunny with a cool breeze. Sigh. It was just amazing.

Even more fantastic than my run, however, was what I woke up to this morning. At 6:30am, I stagger over to the computer to get my Nano that had been charging, and to double check the route I was going to take. On it, I found this slide show [give it a minute; it takes some time to load]. I watched it 3-4 times, and cried the entire time [even just thinking about it during my run made me tear up, which made it hard to maintain my breathing rhythms, but oh well!!!]. Nate has been… ugh, words can’t describe, but I’ve got to at least try. ‘Supportive’ doesn’t quite cut it, and neither do ‘loving, serving, selfless, adoring, enthusiastic, encouraging, caring, sympathetic, reassuring, understanding, concerned, helpful, kind.’ All those words TOGETHER just might do him justice. It IS what he has done for me, but mostly it’s how he has made me feel. He makes me believe that I am strong and powerful and loved beyond measure. I love him with all of my heart, and I know that I will never have a bigger fan in my life.

Wish me luck! The hardest parts of my training are coming up, and we’ve got 70 days till RACE DAY! Can’t wait!!

Kelley - Good luck! You will ROCK that race! I bet it’s going to be a great course! So excited for you!!!!

The Dirty, Dirty Dash…

This has been a dream of mine for a long time… to recklessly attack an event with an energy and abandon known only to small children. I had heard about the Dirty Dash held at Bogus Basin, Boise’s local ski resort. I hadn’t heard amazing things about it, but when the opportunity arose to run this 10k with some of my favorite girls EVER, I was like ‘Heck yeah!!’ It ended up being better than I ever would have imagined, and at the same time I know that in large part was due to the girls that I ran it with. I wasn’t really warned that we were climbing a 2 mile hill at a 12% grade. That was a killer at 6,000 feet elevation. Before we get to our pictures, here is a video of what our Dirty Dash was like. All the obstacles and the water slides were exactly the same.

 

Pretty in Pink? Not for long!!
Unfortunately, Nate didn’t have access to the course to take pictures during the event, but here we are coming up on the Finish Line!Oh yeah!! This was the epitome of a disgustingly GREAT time…. We had such a blast wrestling, and dunking each other, spashling… it was a blast. And ahem… sorry about your face, Nee!!“Um, can we get serious for a second a look for my tooth?”DON’T tell my dentist. He will KILL ME!!Jace thought ‘Mommy’ looked pretty funny!Getting all clean!!After we changed, and in our new ‘DD’ shirts!
You better believe I will be doing this again next year. It was SO MUCH fun! Nate might do it too, which will be great so that I won’t be so tempted to tackle him [he was just so clean and pristine, I couldn't handle it!!]

McCall…

… One of our Favorite Places on Earth. Nate and I believe that we could actually live there – population 2,000 and about 90 miles North of Boise, which would be the closest civilization. Coming from Massachusetts, I never imagined that I could actually become a small town girl, but McCall makes me think that I can. Nate had a photo gig last week and they provided us with a place to stay [our very own cabin on a lake!!]. Jace and I decided that we couldn’t let ‘Daddy’ have all the fun without us, so we jumped in the car and joined him for yet another road trip. We had a blast!! Below is a picture of me cheering on Nate as he ventured out into the unknown marshes of the Payette River to take some pictures of a beautiful creature that he spotted on the opposite bank of the river…Can you see it?Is that better? That’s right!! From the road, Nate spotted this bald eagle [I named him Ted]. We wish that we could have gotten closer, or had a major zoom lens.One of our first times to McCall Nate and I stopped at this road and took a couple pictures. It was great to see it again, and no matter what time of year it is, or what the weather, that road always provides something beautiful.This was us when we first got to the cabin. While Jace slept on a little while longer, Nate and I sunbathed on the deck at sunset. It was absolutely heavenly. As awesome as the cabin was, we spent about 95% of the time either on the porch or on the deck.During the night, we freaked ourselves out a bit, thinking that we were hearing intruders or raccoons in the house. Haha! We are such goobers. Being all alone in the wilderness made us a little jumpy. In the morning, we decided that we needed to head into town for me to try the FAMOUS cooking of the Pancake House! Nate had been there before on previous trips, but this was my first time and I was INCREDIBLY amazed to find that it lived up to its reputation. In the three days that we stayed up there, we got French Toast, Pancakes, THE BEST OMELETS we’ve ever eaten before [next to my Dad's, of course], lots of hot chocolate [because it was THAT good, even in the middle of the summer], ‘Those Potatoes’- which are hash browns loaded with cheese, bacon bits and veggies, and the biggest, bestest, tastiest, most fattening cinnamon roll we had ever seen in our lives. It was literally swimming in a plate of buttery frosting. Nate was a VERY happy man. I loved watching Nate work on a self-portrait project. He’s such a handsome guy, ya know? I’m super happy to have all these pictures of him at my disposal. Now, ‘all play and no work makes Jack a poor boy’… [is THAT how the saying goes?] And so on Tuesday afternoon, we were picked up by boat  and chauffeured over to the other side of the lake where we took some family portraits at a reunion. I love Jace’s hair flapping in the wind!On the trip back to our cabin, Nate got to wakeboard!! He said that it was one of the best runs he’s ever had in his life, EVER! He’s pretty dang talented… and fearless.With all that junk we’d been eating on our trip, I most definitely had to find time for running. It was a good chance for me to practice running at a higher elevation. I was so hot by the time I got back from my run, I didn’t even bother changing into my bathing suit. Ooooo, it felt good. Nate and I fantasized the entire time we were there, that someday, this would all be ours. We would own this cabin, on this lake, with that boat. And we would have SO MUCH fun with our family up here. And OH!! We would have a dog! It was so much fun, playing house. And this dog was such a joy!On our last day there, we had some gorgeous blue skies, which, we have discovered, is the best conditions by which to take pictures of our little man. That sky just makes his eyes POP!! He was so adorable during this little photo session. Bless you!!He was pretty excited that ‘Daddy’ even let him play with his phone!! What an expensive little toy!Sigh. My favorite. “Ok, Dad. I’m done.”
As is our custom, on the drive home, we took our time, stopping to take pictures, have picnics and just enjoy the scenery that was just too beautiful to enjoy from the inside of a car. We found this ‘beach’ with sand like you find in the Caribbean, soft and silky and white, and spent the afternoon there. I laughed from the shore as Nate tried to catch a minnow that was probably about 1/2″. He was so adorable. He even braved the swift rapids and crossed the river to try a rope swing. He got some great air!!
A very classic Nate shot… ; )I love this image. It represents how my memories are of that day… all sparkling and bright and warm, and filled with the two people I love the most. It was SUCH an amazing day… and trip as a whole. We are just so lucky.

Kelley - Oh my gosh, those photos are just amazing! The cabin, the lake! If that doesn’t scream summer I don’t know what does. Life’s simple pleasures. Jace is just SO cute! He’s getting big! Nate cracks me up too. And you look amazing, as usual. Great pictures! :)

Kathryn - I love the country too! Looks like a beautiful place. Jace is just so cute!! I love the bright blue eyes.

To Mackay, Stanley & Home Again…

Who’d have thought that there was so much to see in little ol’ Idaho?? But low and behold, Nate’s work has brought us to another gorgeous part of our state. I’d heard of Stanley before… I heard GORGEOUS lakes, mountains, parks, rivers, canyons… but I’d never heard of Mackay, a little town past Stanley. It was a wedding there that got our family into the car on a road trip to the unknown. We left early so that we would have time to stop and explore and picnic and obviously… take pictures. ; ) Here’s what we got on our trip up:We found this amazingly clear and clean river… we could not believe how beautiful it was. 

When we got to the hotel, Jace was in SUCH a good mood. He slept almost the entire drive up, and so he had SOO much energy to expend. We had such a blast playing and talking and singing with our gorgeous little boy!He had a FULL range of emotions and a complete set of facial expressions to go with them! Now how the heck did we get such a tow-head?!?!On the morning of the wedding, Nate and I had some time to go exploring and visit the Pass Creek National Park. It was beautiful and breathtaking… and just BIG; everything was in such a grand scheme, larger than life.

The wedding went absolutely fantastic… obviously. Nate can’t do anything less than that. We headed back the day after that and stopped a few times to snag some family photos. I have to say that the most overwhelming smell overcame us as we were walking through the woods getting our shots. The pine and the wood and the lake and, augh! It was just intoxicating. I wish I could smell it again! Here is me waiting for Nate to set the interval timer…. just singing and dancing in the hillside! Would the caption be: “You make me feel like a natural woman?” Haha!!

OH! Look at those THIGHS!!! I’ve just got to chew them up!!

We HAVE to go back to these hot springs!!  AMAZING!

Oscar B.Morales - Hello Guys!!!!

Love the pictures, after seeing the little cacorrito, of course the last picture, the one of the “reflection” on the lake is just stunning.

Great work, but none compares to my Little Jace.

Love,

Pappa Daddy

Leanne - so yeah. you guys are so cute! holy blonde luisa. Before you mentioned it, i thought, ” how is this kid not brown? ” so funny. he is such a chunk and yes, i just wanna squeeze on those legs!!!!! he is getting cuter and cuter!!!! oh, i wish i could meet him!!! you look amazing as usual. love you woman!! MISS YOU TONS!!