Friday, May 21, 2010

Here's To You Mrs. Robinson

It's hard to believe that our much-anticipated trip to Utah has come and gone. Pretty sure that was the fastest week of my life. My dear sister is officially "Mrs. Robinson." What a grand occasion the wedding was. The announcement pictured above was featured in the Davis County Clipper - a longstanding tradition for anyone who lives within Clipper boundaries - but I must say, I've never seen so many people respond over an announcement. They open the paper, see the picture and move on with life. Not with this one. Random people that none of us Irvines know called my parents house asking/commenting about Lindsay's announcement. Classic. That's Irvine wit for you...

Perhaps the reason our trip flew by so fast was because it was jam-packed. I'm a little worried that everyone who saw us probably thought we looked like zombies because we were going nonstop from point A to point Z every day trying to see all our family and friends. Luckily, we managed to pull everything off. Not as many pictures as usual for us, but lots from the main events. We flew in on Wednesday and after a Cafe Rio run, we hung out with our parents before crashing in Centerville with the Chapmans.

Thursday: Provo & the same time.

We figured we'd get to see more people if we split up. I needed to spend some time in the BYU library on Thursday to work on my dissertation and since Steve is basically allergic to Provo, I figured I'd take the opportunity after studying to hang out with my dear friend Penelope Celeste and her beau, Sam. Good times. Amazing things are around the corner for that girl. While I was in Provo, Steve went to hang out with J.R. and Tesse up in Ogden, two good friends from his Choralaire days.

Another reason I needed to head to Provo was in order to pick up Lindsay's wedding flowers early Friday morning and head back to Bountiful to arrange them...

In case you're wondering, this is how flowers are packed before they end up at your neighborhood floral shop. Fascinating, I know.

Luckily I had help processing all the roses (meaning, removing all the foliage and thorns from the stems).

250 Cream and Black Magic roses later...

Time to start arranging!

Nathan's boutonnierre

Everybody else's boutonniere

It's funny how much flowers reflect personalities. Lindsay went for classic and elegant - a perfect fit for describing my sister.

The bridal bouquet. I tried some new greenery for the collar, pittosporum - oh man, I loved it! It looked fantastic and made the roses pop. Absolutely brilliant.

Big fan of the ribbon too. It was red/black depending on what light it was under.

This was a special request on my part. I remember having my whole family together at my parent's house the night before Steve and I got married last September to enjoy some delicious Chinese food and just have fun together before the hustle and bustle of the wedding day. I asked if we could do that again, which ended up being a great finish to a day full of arranging flowers. No time like quality time with the fam.

Heaven on earth! Myca (my sister-in-law) brought these over to my parent's house Friday night, which provided some exquisite dessert after the Chinese food was devoured.

The whole family, minus the bride and groom. They were at a dinner that night with Nathan's family out in SLC.

Saturday: Wedding Day!

This hardly ever happens - the entire Irvine clan in one place at one time! Amazing.

Dave and Linda Irvine - best parents in the world. We're still very aware and very grateful that my dad was here to share in this special day for Lindsay and Nathan. So grateful.

Hey, who let the Scottish guy in?!?! Lindsay was thrilled to learn that Steve was going to wear his kilt to the wedding, so long as he didn't upstage the groom. It was a big hit. The ring on Steve's finger didn't stop numerous ladies from commenting on how nice his legs looked in his kilt. =)

The ceremony was lovely. It was performed by a good family friend, The Rev (aka Tom Goldsmith).

And behind door #2...

A happily married couple

Reception time!

What's different about this picture?

Yes. It's Michael.

He didn't get the memo.

Maybe next time.

I'm really glad this photograph was even possible. I won't go into all the details, but let's just say that I'm really glad I didn't ruin Lindsay's cake. PHEW! My hands are shaking just writing about this picture. The cake had a close call with the table and the cake stand (removed for the actual cutting), but luckily everything turned out just fine. =) We told Lindsay what happened a few days later so as not to freak out the bride on her wedding day.
Good call.

These two are in top form on the dance floor. It's where they met, and where they'll continue to find themselves through the years.

Scott and I are very lucky that we found such wonderful spouses. Spouses who will put up with all of our nonsense when we get together. When I pulled into my parent's driveway on Friday afternoon I saw Scott's truck already there, and immediately started putting together an action plan in my head. Good thing I did because he did the very same thing and we met in the kitchen. I don't remember who went for what exactly, but I do remember a spray bottle and lots of water. My mom only has one rule whenever stuff like this happens - whoever took it, must return the bottle to the ironing board.


Next family event (right after the wedding): family party at the Adams residence!

We waited for this moment for a very long time.

We finally got to meet our adorable nephew, Daxton!

Isn't he the cutest little guy? We definitely think so.

He's just over six months now

Dax chillin' on a blanket with his mom, Natalie - he definitely got her good looks.

A mover and a shaker. He was wiggling around, though it could have been that he was tired of the new people who were obsessed with him. Just a guess.

Listening to Steve sing while Juli played the piano. I've missed this since moving to Scotland. We don't have a piano here, except for the pianos at church. He is always being asked to play in Sacrament over here in Scotland, but it was so much fun listening to him sing songs from our favorite musicals.

Sunday: Centerville to Logan

We got to attend the annual Cinco de Mayo party (scheduled a bit late this year) with the Stevens crew in Centerville. More people we've missed while being away. Steve always enjoys keeping the kiddos entertained whether on the grass, the trampoline, or eating otter pops on the porch.

After the party, we drove up to Logan to see some friends. First stop (sorry, no picture!): Tammy and Lorin Stevens' house (Tammy and Steve taught together in Taiwan) to catch up on old times. I met all of Steve's friends from Taiwan right after I met Steve, and they are all hilarious. I will forever have images of the dancing game in my head when I think of everyone from Steve's Taiwan adventure. =)

Next stop: visiting my fellow Scottish sibling and his beautiful fiancee. We wanted to see Michael and Mariah before they get hitched in June to hear their stories and wish them the best since we'll miss their wedding. This picture was taken for Rita McGuire. We wanted to get some traditional Scottish gifts for these two as a wedding gift and Rita insisted that she get the gift for them. That's Rita for you - a heart of gold the size of Texas. She doesn't even know Michael or Mariah, but wanted to give them something as a token of Scotland to celebrate their marriage.

It was great hearing their engagement story - totally original and meaningful. Can't wait to see where married life takes these two.

Michael Murray and Mariah Clark - soon to be Mr. & Mrs. Murray

Goofing off at Natalie and Luke's house. Steve was good and decided to work off those delicious chocolate strawberries. I, on the other hand, played with the wee one...

Can't get enough of this guy

I'll have you know that I was replaced on Steve's cell phone background by a picture of Daxton. He's that cute.

Steve decided to get in on this action too - he loves being an uncle.

Monday: Logan back to SLC

We met up with Miss Hawker (another great friend from Taiwan) Monday afternoon and enjoyed some cool refreshment at Cold Stone before Sara had to take off for work.

You know those people that come into your life that will be there forever, no matter the time or distance? That's Sister Soderborg for you. We were mission companions for 4.5 months and it was so great getting together and hearing about current events. Russ, her significant other, is one very lucky guy to be dating such a great gal. =)

With all the weddings happening right now, I do have to mention how fun it was looking through our own wedding album. This was the first time Steve and I got to see the album since it wasn't finished until December. It is AMAZING! Same story with our wedding video. I can't say thanks enough to Brody and Cameron for the amazing job they did capturing our wedding day. And thanks to all of you out there who contributed great advice on the video. It was fun watching it being married eight months now and hearing advice given to us on our first day as a married couple. All of it was sage advice, and still rings true today.

Many thanks.

Wednesday: Homeward bound

Making himself at home in the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris during our layover.

Home at last.

Scotland really has become home. Steve and I both tried to understand why we felt like strangers in a familiar place while we were in Utah. Utah has always felt like home to me, but this time around it was slightly different. Don't get me wrong - one aspect of home will always revolve around family, and it was wonderful being surrounded by family and dear friends the whole week. It's probably just that Steve and I have gotten used to everything just being the two of us, so something different felt a bit strange. We're back in the swing of things here, and on my way to the National Gallery today the picture above is what I saw.


I love Scotland.

It's good to be home.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Leprechauns and Snake Charmers

Fáilte Ireland!
Welcome to Ireland! Steve and Daniel explored the Emerald Isle a week and a half ago and had a grand 'ole time. I wasn't present for this trip - a boys only adventure - but I told Steve I would include a few of his pics from the trip to share with family and friends back home. Steve asked me what I wanted him to bring me from Ireland and I quickly responded, "a leprechaun, of course!" The leprechaun has yet to appear, but if I couldn't find one myself back in 2005 I wasn't holding out much hope that Steve would have any more luck in 2010.

River Liffey - runs right through the middle of Dublin.

Christ's Church Cathedral

Dublin. Castle. Eighteenth century (most of it, anyway). Beautiful.

View of the church interior inside Dublin castle. The stone vaulting/carving reminds me of Westminster Abbey. Exquisite.

مرحبا بكم في المغرب

What a crazy adventure Morocco turned out to be! I loved it. Some aspects of our time in Marrakech transported me right back to the Old City in Jerusalem (however, no one can re-create falafel and chicken schawarma like the vendors in Jeru....simply not possible no matter how hard I wish it). Cultures like that of Marrakech are hard for me to explain. It's just so different from what I am used to having grown up in Bountiful, Utah, USA. Besides seeing new sights, tasting new foods, and doing all kinds of crazy things that I wouldn't ordinarily do, one thing that stands out to me after a trip like this is how grateful I am to be an American. I try not to take that for granted, especially after five days in Africa. We almost got stuck there for who knows how long thanks to the volcano in Iceland! Yikes. Luckily, on Saturday morning we checked the internet and saw that our flight had been canceled due to the ash cloud over Portugal/Spain air space, so we immediately booked a flight on EasyJet, which thankfully wasn't canceling their flights. It was a very long trip home (started at 3:00pm on Saturday and finished Sunday afternoon at 4:00pm), but we were anxious to be on UK soil in order to make flights back to the States this week. Prayers to silence the Eye-a-whatchamacallit volcano would be greatly appreciated. =) Enough about that though - enjoy the pictures from an enchanting city...

Can't even begin to describe how wonderful the 80-degree weather felt! No jacket! Amazing.

We made it! Come to find out, they closed the Edinburgh airport after our flight took off. So, not only were we lucky to get out in the end, we were lucky to even get to Morocco in the first place.

We stayed at a Riad in the heart of the Medina (Old City) and had a five minute walk to get to Jemaa el Fna (main square).

Another picture of our Riad. Very cool.

You can't take a photograph without the snake charmers swarming around you placing snakes on your neck, which is their way of insuring that you pay them money for the pictures you take. Shady! I think Steve enjoyed the experience though.

Example of the poverty you see once you get off the beaten path.

Marrakech is full of amazing architecture - it's impossible to get tired of it.

You can be walking down a rundown street, turn a corner, and bam! there's a sweet archway.

Doors to one of the palaces in Marrakech - inside is off limits to visitors.

Koutoubia Mosque. This is the Eiffel Tower of Marrakech. It dominates the skyline in every direction and is really good for figuring out where you are when you get lost in the maze known as the Medina. =)

One of the doorways at the Saadian Tombs. Exquisite wood carvings are everywhere!

Tombstones. I loved these. The inscription of the deceased is written in arabic around the circumference of the stone. I couldn't understand any of it, but it was so interesting. Arabic has to be one of the most beautiful written languages in the world.

Apparently we still have a thing for cemeteries....

Most of the tombs are covered in large halls like the one behind us, but there are some graves outside as well.

My henna tattoo. Where do I even begin? As strange as this may sound, this dermatological motif was forced upon me by a crazy lady in the Jemaa el Fna. I was planning on getting one at some point, but I wanted an indiscreet, small design on the back of my wrist in brown ink, so as not to be obvious at my sister's upcoming wedding. NOPE! I shouldn't have even asked questions. The lady grabbed my hand to give me "a small token for luck." Yeah right. Once again, she was out for mi dinero. I asked her to stop, but she would not let go - iron grip for sure. She wanted an extraordinary amount of money for the design she made, but in the end, I gave her about 5 bucks.

A little blue glitter bling to top it all off. How kind of her to make it match my outfit that day! Good thing I got permission from Lindsay to show up in Utah with henna.

A view of the Medina from the rooftop of our Riad.

Jemaa el Fna ('La Place') at dusk. This place is packed in the evenings - everyone comes to shop, eat, hear stories & fortunes told by the locals.

Magic carpets! Good for floor & wall decor.

We spent a lot of time in this position in order to soak in all the ceiling decoration inside the Bahia Palace.

Dark brown cabinet woodwork with colorful inlay. Very white 27-year old American with colorful overlay. =)

We were happy to see the sun on this vacation

Daniel and Steve reenacting nomadic life inside a private collection detailing the African heritage of Moroccan culture.

Taking a break and soaking it all in inside a Riad courtyard. We had a fun conversation here with one of the museum workers that gave us the scoop on Moroccan life. I felt much better about how much I paid for my henna after talking with him - he said 25-35 Dirhams was plenty. Anything more is extortion. Excellent.

We wandered outside the city wall for dinner one night and enjoyed a lovely stroll during the sunset. Weather was perfect.

Even in Marrakech. We didn't eat here, but I have to admit, I was curious to see what the McArabia looked like.

Fruit/Vegetable market. I learned a very valuable lesson from advice given to me in Cairo - never eat produce. Ever. If you do, well, your insides will explode. =)

Not exactly the Khan el-Khalili in Cairo, but the various souks in Marrakech were a blast to wander through.

Daniel and Shauna souking it up. Shauna tried her hand at bartering and came away with a lovely silver bracelet that went from 600 down to 150 Dirhams in under 20 minutes. Nice work!

These guys were my favorite. They totally ripped me off (and when I say that, I mean I ended up paying 2 bucks more than I should have) but it was worth it for how much fun it was talking with them. Steve and I collect ornaments from all the places we've traveled to for our Christmas tree and I found a really cool hand of Fatima decoration that has Morocco written all over it. The owner (guy on the right) asked if I wanted to purchase 100 of them so that he could make me a really great deal. Daniel's reply, "Sure, why not? We'll just open up our own store across from yours and sell them ourselves!" Lots of back-and-forth joking like that. They were hilarious. I turned down the offer to buy the whole store, but ended up buying a couple carved decorations to represent Marrakech on our tree.

I love this picture. When I think of Marrakech, this image will always come to mind. A view from the souk of a mosque entryway.

Huge expanse of landscaped gardens on our walk to La Manara (another garden)

Camels! Not as tall as the Cairo variety, but still fun to ride. Shauna got the bucking bronco - that camel was not happy to be on duty. I've never seen a biting camel until I met this guy. Luckily, he calmed down and let Shauna ride on him for awhile.

Another view of Koutoubia Mosque.

Fruit and nut stands in Jemaa el Fna. Once again, look with your eyes but not your hands (and certainly not your mouth)!

Steve liked the guys with the crazy hats.

Hour two of our journey home. Good thing we travel with playing cards.

Hour 15 of our journey home. We're at least back in the UK now (Manchester airport to be specific). I have one rockstar of a husband. I've never been a fan of facial hair, but I have to admit, Steve pulls off a ruggedly handsome look after four days of not shaving. Impressive.

And that is a taste of our trip to Marrakech. An amazing place with a lot of culture and a lot of beautiful sights to be explored and stories to be told.

شكرا لإصغائكم