Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Best birthday cake ever!

We celebrated my birthday with my family on December 9th. I had forgotten about these photos and wanted to share them. I especially wanted to give props to mom and McKenzie for my birthday cake. Mom baked it and McKenzie decorated it. She turned the icing into purple and pink. It was her birthday present to me. Thanks Kenzie! I totally loved it!


As most of you may know, Skyler works with a construction company who focuses primarily with concrete surfacing but he occasionally does tilework on spec houses that the company builds. Occasionally he will show me pictures of some of the work he does. I'm always amazed at the beautiful work he does. He is very precise and really tries to make sure it looks how he would want it to look if it was his own home. I wanted to share some of his more recent tilework because this home looks quite beautiful!

I'm so glad that he has all these skills so he can build us a home someday!

Friday, December 7, 2007


A peek into a conversation in the Francis household...

Me: *Sigh*

Skyler: What?

Me: Oh nothing.

Skyler: Whatever.

Skyler: Don't Whatever me!

Me: I didn't Whatever you! You Whatevered me!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

December 5th was my birthday. I'm 24! I wanted to get the day off, mostly so I didn't have to wake up before dawn on my birthday. If I did nothing else on my birthday, atleast I would be able to sleep in! I was able to, thanks to Rachel for picking up my shift. Thanks again Rach! Here's a birthday portrait I took while being far too bored at home. Later on, after Skyler got home from work, we made reservations for The Melting Pot restaurant. We then went to the Gateway mall to kill some time before our reservation.

We then headed over to The Melting Pot. I had been wanting to try it for awhile and I guess there was no better time than now right? Neither of us had had cheese fondue or cooked our own meat at a restaurant before. I liked the food and experience a lot.
Here we are just before dessert.

And here are the dippings for the chocolate.

The Chocolate, garnished with oreo cookies, is off to the side. It was so delicious! Dessert was definitely the best part. However, I wish there were more brownies and less marshmellows. It was a very nice birthday!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hawaii low down

Here it is. More than you even wanted to know about our vacation to Hawaii.

I apologize that it has taken me so long to write about our Hawaii vacation. I was avoiding writing because I knew there was so much to write about. How do you sum up a 10 day Hawaii vacation in one blog entry? But I’ll try.
The first day, October 18th, was our traveling day. We flew from SLC to San Francisco, then to Honolulu. The flight from San Francisco to Honolulu was the longest 4 ½ hours of our lives. That really isn’t that long, especially when compared to flights that people are always making all around the world to different countries, (which we have not yet done). So it was no 18 hour flight, but we were just too ADD to sit in the same spot for that long! Especially when there isn’t enough leg room, or room in general to get any sort of comfortable. But somehow we got through it. When we landed in Honolulu we were greeted with a big rainbow . It was a nice first taste of Hawaii. It was now approximately 6:00pm Hawaii time. There is a 4 hour difference from Utah time. We then had a couple of hours to spare before our inter-island flight to Kauai. We were then expected to entertain ourselves in a very quite, laid back airport. The part of the airport we were in required quite a walk to get anywhere; restroom, food, anything. So we just stayed put. A young woman behind us started talking to us asking if we were also heading to Kauai. We told her yes and she went on to tell us the woes of her trip thus far. She had had her laptop stolen on her flight from Ohio. As if that wasn’t bad enough, when she arrived here, she was told that the airline info had been changed and the flight was even later then she thought. So her friends, who she was to meet up with somewhere, had to leave without her. She was needless to say, unhappy about her situation thus far. Finally we boarded our inter-island flight.
We arrived in Kauai after 8 p.m. We were totally exhausted. We grabbed our luggage, picked up our rental car. As much as we wanted to find our hotel and sleep, we went to the Walmart, yes a Walmart in Hawaii. My first thought was ‘Oh how sad!’ Walmart has to make it’s way into every nuke and cranny of the world, even the little island of Kauai. But Walmart was the only place in the area that we could get a few things we needed. After Walmart, we found our hotel (Aloha Beach) and though the beds were as hard as a rock, we were out in a flash!
Day 2
We woke up early, checked-out, and got ready to explore Kauai. But before we got in the car I noticed that our hotel happened to be right next to the beach. We walked down. We were the only ones in the area. It was so lovely! I put a Plumeria in my hair. With the Plumeria behind my ear and the beauty of the beach it felt as if I was officially in Hawaii. We then drove south, towards Po’ipu. I wanted to explore the south end today because we probably weren’t going to be able to for the rest of the trip because we would be staying up on the north end of the Island for the remainder of the time. We went to Po'ipu beach first.

As I laid on the beach, I told myself to enjoy every minute of this vacation and to just take it all in. I was glad to be on Kauai. Kauai is one of the least commercial islands in Hawaii. It is also, compared to the other major islands, the least touristy. This, I was grateful for. I wanted to see as much of the “real” island as I could while avoiding the commercial touristy stuff as much as possible. Just take it all in. Leave home and any worries behind. We then did a tiny bit of shopping and eating at the Po’ipu shopping area, then hung out for bit at Shipwreck beach. On the way to the car the sand burned my feet! We went to what looked like a Japanese cemetery. It was a very cool looking cemetery; very old and unique looking. We then stopped by a little hole in the wall place called Hamura Simin for some shave ice. I have a little explaination of it here. After a bit more driving around and exploring, we met up with Skyler’s family who had just arrived in Kauai. Skyler’s parents are the reason we came to Hawaii in the first place. Through their stake president and his wife, whom they are good friends with, they got a good deal with some condos Princeville. It was nice to finally see his parents and sister, Cambree. We haven’t seen them since our wedding in May 2005. This was going to be a chance to spend some time with them and for me, get to know them; visa versa. After a small greeting, we were off to Princeville, on the north end. Our drive on the way there was gorgeous! I was in total awe at the beauty. I had never been anywhere like it before. It was so green. The further up the road we got the greener it was. The closest I had been to seeing this much green was probably Oregon. Much of Oregon is very green and gorgeous. But the green of pine trees and the green on a tropical island is obviously so different. It was just stunningly beautiful. No wonder they call it The "Garden Island". We arrived to our timeshare condos. We took the middle condo while his family took the one upstairs. The condo was great. Suffice for our needs for a week stay. It was equipped with a small kitchen and a washer and dryer in the bathroom. We spent most of the remainder of the evening with his family.

Day 3 we had a continental breakfast in front of our condo while we listened to some people tell us about all of the activities on Kauai. With all the research I had done before the trip, not much of it was new information to me. Before the trip I was sure I wanted to do some horseback riding and a Luau along with many other things that would be nice. Once I started considering the high price for all these activities, my priorities changed. I began to think that we might not do anything pricey while here. And I was actually ok with that because there is so much to do on Hawaii without spending $100 on activities. There is the beach, exploring by car, hiking, eating at local restaurants, etc. After breakfast we stopped by the farmer’s market in Hanalei town. I really enjoyed this farmer’s market. It was really cute. We bought some apple bananas and an avocado. The apple bananas tasted just like regular bananas but with a little kick to it, but more of a sweet taste. We then spent a large part of the afternoon beach hopping. Even with my Kauai guidebook, I was constantly confused as to which beach we were at, because most of the beaches don’t have signs that say where you are. Later in the trip I was finally smart enough to use the mile markers as a guide as to where we were. Doh! One beach we were at, the waves were pretty rough. I chose to stay back. Skyler and his dad, Stephen tried them out however. Skyler ended up getting knocked around by the rough waves. He finally got out when he felt as though his ear drums were blown out. Another beach we went to was what I called the hippy beach. There were a bunch of people camped out by the beach. After some time at the beach, we did some window shopping at Ching Yung shipping village, very touristy, but neat place. We ate at a place called Polynesia café. They had anything from a chimichanga to a burger to Hawaiian dishes and desserts. We parted ways with his family and went to a beach at Hanalei Bay. This part of the beach had no one on it but us. We walked the beach. It was lovely. This time of night I was hoping to see the sunset, but I guess in Hawaii, or Kauai at least, you can’t see the sun set just anywhere. You can only see it set on certain places on the island depending on what time of the year it is. And we were certainly never at the right place to see it. On our way back to the condo we stopped at a lookout. It was a beautiful lookout. The taro crops were down below. Beautiful shades of green.

Day 4

It is Sunday. We are off to Waimea Canyon. We drove separately from his family just in case we wanted to hike or do more exploring than his family may want to. On the way, we stopped by at the Spouting Horn. It was a rocky surface with a small hole in it where water shot up out of. I looked at it only briefly and was off to shop at the booths with some local vendors. Once we were finally to Waimea Canyon we stopped at the main lookout. It was just stunningly beautiful. It’s comparable to the Grand Canyon. The only big difference is that it’s green. The canyon is so colorful. I wanted to just stare forever. We parted ways with the family and we continued to drive up road, while they headed back up to Princeville. The lookout at the end of the road was by far the most stunning I have seen.

Only seconds after we snapped a few shots of the beauty, the clouds from below rose up and covered the entire scene. It felt like we were walking through the clouds. There was fogginess on both sides of us. As we waited for it to clear, we talked to a middle-aged couple from Pennsylvania. They were Island hoping. They told us about their time in Oahu. The fog wasn’t appearing to clear anytime soon so we left.

On our way out of the canyon we stopped by at Kokee Lodge to grab something to eat. Through my research, there were a few dishes I wanted to try, but they were out of the main ingredient for those. So we decided to just try their dessert. We ordered the Lilikoi Pie and the Coconut Pie. The Lilikoi pie was a shiffon pie, similar to key lime pie but made with passion fruit. The coconut pie was by far the best pie I have ever had. It’s made with chocolate on the bottom, coconut in the middle, and roasted macademia nuts on top. It was oh so delisiouso!
Day 5 consisted of Queen’s Bath and the beach. Queen’s Bath was in walking distance of our condo. It requires a small hike down and a walk across some rockiness. Queen’s Bath was probably my favorite thing to do in Kauai. It was a naturally made pool right next to the ocean.

It was about 6+ feet deep and full of small fish swimming around in it. At first I was paranoid swimming with the fish, but then didn’t care. It was so pleasant swimming in Queen’s Bath. Once Skyler finished taking some shots of a family of sea turtles in the ocean he joined me in the pool. So nice! All of us then headed off to the beach. We went all the way up to Ke’e beach. It was for sure the busiest beach. Once we got to the beach, we immediately saw a Monk Seal swim past us. It beached itself a little ways down. People swarmed it like crazy. We took some pictures of the seal then just left. I wasn’t into this beach. We drove back down and decided to spend some time at a beach in Hanalei. We laid out while the guys played out in the water. Skyler was boogie boarding. Eventually I went out to try some boogie boarding. I was able to get on a ride some waves a couple of times. But mostly I was being beat up by the waves. I suppose I am not naturally good with water sports. It’s not really my thing. After a day at the beach we went back to the Polynesia Café and got a chimichanga a long with a very yummy brownie. This place has very good chocolate desserts.

Day 6
Today Skyler and I drove to Opaeka Falls. That and the river right next to it were lovely. Very picturesque. Afterwards, we decided to continue up the road to try a hike. I was really wanting to do a hike in Kauai. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. We found a hike called Kuilau Ridge Trail. The entire thing was… well… on the ridge. That’s why it was a great hike in my opinion. It allowed you to see the gorgeousness of everything below and beyond the entire time. It was so green and tropical. It was a very simple hike thank goodness. We only went about 1 mile then turned around. The guidebook of mine claimed that there was some beauty to be seen if we went further but Skyler was having a hard time because he was sick. Yeah, he was sick in Hawaii. Kind of funny actually. He never gets sick. And this is his first big vacation ever and… he is sick. Luckily it wasn’t bad enough to get in the way of any of our plans. If it weren’t for the occasional coughing, I would have no idea he was sick.
This may have been the night that Skyler and I drove out to Anini Beach and took a stroll. It was pitch black. The only light may have been the moonlight. We took a stroll on the beach. We spotted a tire swing right on the beach. I made Skyler push me on the thing. We were the only people on the beach. It was honestly so incredibly romantic. As I look back at Hawaii, one of the coolest moments will be when I was on the tire swing swinging over the ocean.

Day 7
Today was be outside in the sun all-day day. Skyler, myself, Cambree, and Skyler’s dad, Stephen, went back to Queen’s Bath. This time the pool wasn’t quite as calm. There were occasional tides rolling into the pool. People who came to the pool ready to get in were just standing there watching the water action. Not long after, Skyler and Stephen decided to get in anyways. They did some snorkeling and fed the fish. Cambree and I stayed on the rocks where we felt nice and safe.
We parted ways and Skyler and I went to the beach. I layed out while Skyler did some boogie boarding. I put some sunscreen all over except my legs. I wanted to protect myself from skin cancer everywhere but there today. It was a risk I was willing to take. Funny how I allowed myself to do such a thing, seeing as I am normally such an advocate do whatever possible to avoid the harmful effects of the sun. Anywhow, we spent quite awhile at the beach. Later on it was obvious that my legs had been burned; the whole thing, from top to bottom. I felt the effects of sunburn for sure. Burning the biggest organ on the body is no good. I felt ill that night. I was worried that it would ruin the remaining few days of our trip.

Day 8
When I woke up the next morning I felt much better. My legs still hurt a bit, but I knew that I would at least be able to function today. Day 7 is where my journal entries stopped. So bear with me as I try to recall the events of the next few days. I believe this is the day that we went to the beach again… yes… beach. We met up with his family. This time I was covered up. I was definitely more covered up than anyone on the entire beach.
Later on, we relocated to a hotel on the east side of the island. It was a nice hotel. This is the hotel where the Hiva Pasefika Luau is held.

Day 9
Today Skyler and I went over to the street fair in Kap’a to do a little shopping. I purchased lots of jewelry, as I could not deicide on just one to buy. I also got a black pearl necklace and matching bracelet for mom.
Then it was cruise time. All of us road down to Port Allen in one car. The particular cruise line we went with was the Blue Dolphin. We boarded the boat around 3pm. The crew and captain were all handsome young men. They were so friendly and helpful. You could move around the ship when you wanted to. You could stand up front, down below, or up top. The view was stunning; as I knew it would be.

The Na Pali Coast is a site to be seen for sure. They eventually served us dinner. It was teriyaki chicken, rice, rolls, poi, and chocolate chip cookies. I know I am forgetting something else. The food was delicious! They even came around serving seconds and thirds of the yummy homemade tasting cookies. Then came sunset time. Witnessing a sunset on the ocean is the most beautiful thing. We sat up top and admire the beauty. Then as the sun was getting closer to the horizon, people scrambled to get shots. The nice crew helped everyone out with that. The rest of the way back was relaxing as we headed back to Port Allen.

As we arrived at our hotel, we noticed that the luau was finishing up outside. We gathered with the crowd and watched the last couple of minutes or so of the fire dancers. I was glad to be able to see this in person. It was pretty cool.

Day 10
Today is our last day in Hawaii. Skyler and I went to breakfast at the Kountry Kithen. This was obviously a very popular place as there was a long wait. I knew I had to have banana pancakes while I was in Hawaii so now was the time, however, when I saw the menu I was torn between many items. I actually ended up getting something completely different. It was quite good. I went next door and purchased an adorable wind chime that says ‘Aloha Hawaii’ on it. On our way back to the hotel I wanted to try a fresh fruit smoothie at a cute little roadside stand. It was refreshing. Sadly neither of the smoothies I had in Hawaii compared to my Jamba Juice smoothie favorites.
All of us then packed up and went our separate ways. Skyler and I drove down to see Wailua Falls. After that, we were off again for a day or traveling.

I love you Kauai. Hope to see you again!

You can find a select few of the many photos we took in Kauai here: here

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Aloha from Hawaii. We are winding down our trip in Kauai. We will be getting on a plane and heading home tomorrow afternoon. It's been a lovely trip but, we are ready to come home. I've posted a few pictures. I will be posting more when I get home and get settled. I'll be posting more details from the trip as well. Till then, Mahalo (thank you).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday hike

After cleaning the house, Skyler and I decided to do a little something different to pass the time on a Saturday. We took a drive up to Big Cottonwood Canyon to do some hiking. This is different for us because we usually find ourselves being more on the lazy side on Saturdays. This was quite the stretch for us.

I had heard about a place called Hidden Falls and wanted to try it. The name was enticing to me. I'll do just about any hike if there is a waterfall at the end! And I had heard it was a short hike so that was even better. So anyways, after driving back and forth in the general area, we were unable to find it so we pulled over to ask a guy that appeared to be a forest ranger if he by chance knew where it was. Turns out he was very mean forest ranger man and that he didn't know where Hidden Falls was located. He didn't even know it existed! Little help he was. So we drove off in the quest of Hidden Falls again, leaving with no more knowledge than we came with. But we were determined to find it.

After driving back up aways, we spotted some hikers getting ready for a hike of their own. They looked like devout hikers. Surely whatever these people say will be reputable I thought to myself. We pulled over and asked them if they knew where Hidden Falls was. The man thought for a bit then gave us some directions. These directions sounded pretty good so we followed them. Low and behold he was right. Alas! We finally found Hidden Falls!

Turns out this was not a hike but a stroll up a small stream, which led us to the waterfall. It was a nice litttle area. Once we were there, Skyler started taking some shots of the waterfall and surrounding area. I enjoyed the scenery and waited to use the camera to take some shots of my own. We took turns with the camera, handing it back and forth to eachother. Though it became apparent that neither of us like to share the camera. After awhile of taking turns we began to act like children trying to grab something from the other. It was very comparable to children.

Give it!... I want it!... It's my turn!...

This is what happens when your spouse has the same passion as you do. But I'll be honest. I was mostly to blame. It's technically Skyler's camera. Be there is no need to get technical here, right?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Here it goes...

And here it is... my very first blog. It was just making the first entry that scared me. That's the hardest part for me. It's always the hardest thing for me, to just start something! After I start, I'm fine. It's smooth sailing from there.

I've been wanting to start a blog for quite awhile now, but another reason that I haven't until now is that I don't think that I am a good writer in the least bit. It's not one of my blessed talents that's for sure. I was worried that writing my thoughts elsewhere, other than my journal, might bore people to tears. Writing interestingly is not my forte. Photography is more of my kind of thing. It's much more comfortable to me that's for sure. And I'm sure photos of mine will be included in my blogs quite often, providing blogger allows me enough space. This can be my life/photography blog. There we go.