I have to brag for a minute, because Alan is way too humble to say anything. We found out last night that Alan got accepted to the #1 Top P.A. (Physician's Assistan) program in the country - University of Iowa!!!! We're still not 100% sure we'll be going there, because we're still waiting to hear from one other school. But congratulations to Alan for getting in to #1!! (He's so brilliant.) Yay Alan!
I can't believe I haven't posted anything since October! Well, for those of you who didn't get to see us in person on Halloween, here's a picture of us in costume. In case you can't tell, we were Little Red Riding hood and the Wolf dressed as Granny. We won best couple costume at our ward party! We also got to go to Washington D.C. together in early November. I was there for work and Alan went for Grad School interviews. We got to spend a day touring the city. I absolutely love that place!
Alan also had an interview in Winchester, VA. about an hour outside of D.C. which reminded me of Charlottesville where my family lived when I was little. I think I'm totally an East Coast girl at heart. I can't wait to move there...someday. =-)
Wow, what a month it has been since my last post. I'll see if I can catch up from the past few weeks. Well, the entire Rawson family was once again all together when everyone met in Utah for General Conference. It was really nice to all be together and we had a very happy weekend. The following week, I had to go to The Netherlands for work. ManageFusion / Vision, our annual customer conference in Europe, was in The Hague this year. So I flew into Amsterdam, arriving Monday morning, and spent the entire week in Europe. It was mostly work, but I had a day to tour Amsterdam and my hotel was right on the coast of the North Sea so I got to spend some time walking on the beach. It was a great experience, although I wish Alan could have been there with me.
The day I got back, I went to a surprise Baby shower for my good friend, Sinikka and then Alan and I went to the BYU vs. New Mexico football game. Alan's Dad's friend got us down on the field for pre-game which was a blast!
Then, after being home for only one day, I got back on a plane to go to Orlando for another ManageFusion conference for a week. It was, again, mostly work but I got to stay in a beautiful hotel. This pic is the view from my window. And the customer party on Monday night was at Sea World. It was my first time at Sea World and we got to see the Shamu show and ride a sweet roller coaster! By the end of the week, I was just happy to be home and spend time relaxing with Alan and sleep in my own bed.
Life is good! We are keeping busy with work and school and loving life together.
I haven't gotten a new bike since I was very little, so that might explain my 7-year-old-like excitement over my recent purchase. I want to ride it every day! We have been able to try some fun trails near our house and I'm slowly catching up to Alan and getting into biking shape. This picture is on the Big Springs Trail. We went for a ride on Saturday to check out the beautiful fall colors. Love Utah!
Further evidence that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We spent Labor Day weekend camping and hiking in Zion National Park with Kyle & Krista (Kara's siblings) and Jake & Linsdey Hiller. We had a fantastic time hiking the river in The Narrows and cheating death on the precarious cliffs of Angel's Landing. And, of course, the highlight of any camping trip is sitting around the fire enjoying great conversation with friends and family.
The Narrows. Hiking in the water was a really fun experience, even if we all got blisters. =-)
Zion Canyon - from the top of Angel's Landing.
The whole group at the top of Angel's Landing. Lindsey (in the blue) hiked the whole thing 5 months pregnant! Go Lindsey!!
In celebration of the start of another Fantasy Football season, Alan made a cake to accompany the Live Fantasy Draft for his league - "NFLDS." I helped a little, but he was very proud of his handiwork. Yay Alan!
Work in progress. This is harder than it looks, it takes lots of concentration.
Alan and I just started a weekly cake decorating class, offered by Wilton - the industry leader in cake decorating. Oh yeah, it's official. This is fulfilling a long-time dream of Alan's and helping me learn the skills that I hope will eventually contribute to our livelihood. This week, after only 2 classes, we completed our first cake! It's actually a lot harder than it looks. We gave it to our friends, Becky and Tom, who just had a baby boy last week, and it actually tasted pretty good! In case you can't tell, it's a teddy bear.
I can't figure out how to rotate this, so you'll have to just turn your head. =-)
Last weekend, we decided to abandon previous oaths to 'never do it again' and hike to the top of Mount Timpanogos. We hiked the Aspen Grove trail, a different trail than we used 3 years ago, and reached the 11,749 foot summit in about 5 hours, just in time for the sunrise! We went with our good friends, Steve and Crystal, and had a grand time laughing, snacking and enjoying unbeatable scenery. I can't get over what a beautiful place Utah is and how lucky we are to have places like this so close to home! And thanks to our regular Y mountain hikes and being in better general health than 3 years ago, this year's hike wasn't nearly as excruciating. We will definitely do this again. Enjoy the pictures!
Kara, Crystal & Steve - ready for the hike! (We set out at about 2:30 a.m.)
Those are mountain goats... and yes, Steve is 15 feet away from them!
Sunrise at the summit.
From the top of the 'glacier' we slid down. So fun!
This has been a week of fabulous Live music for the Bankheads. It's not very often that we get to see 3 concerts in 6 days! All at Usana Amphitheater, we got to see Steve Miller Band on Wednesday (lots of dancing hippies), Martina McBride on Friday (Kara's favorite - she got in free for passing out beer bands), and James Taylor on Monday (We had great seats with Byron and Heather and ran into old friends from Kansas - the Coopers and the Schulties!). All three put on a great show and we had an absolute BLAST! Will definitely go see Martina and JT again if they return.
James Taylor! That's actually him! (He was soooooo good!)
Kara and Korbie (a friend from work) passing out Beer Bands at Martina McBride.
Lawn seats with Jake & Sinikka Lee at Steve Miller Band.
Congratulations! The 'Gaza Strip' (Alan's trusty '94 Camry) turned 200,000 this month. That's really old in car years! A series of unfortunate events led to the lack of a video here, but the pictures are pretty cool, too! Here's to another 100,000 miles!
Kara's brother, Kyle, returned home from a 2 year mission in Paraguay on Friday, so we had a nice Rawson reunion in Wichita, KS. It was the first time our whole family had been together since our wedding! We had a great weekend helping Kyle adjust to life as an American again which, it turns out, is quite different from living in Paraguay. We were also in time to celebrate Dad's 49th birthday with a crown. We love the Rawsons!
Welcome to the official beginning of your new favorite blog! We're starting out in European style! Unfortunately, our 2 week trip to Europe in may was probably the most exciting thing that will happen to the Bankheads for a while, so it might be all downhill from here. Enjoy!
Neither of us had ever been to Europe before. Pre-grad school, pre-kids, family in Germany, we knew there would never be a better time to go. So we went! After an excruciatingly long flight which was made oh so much better by some nice sleeping pills, courtesy of Dr. Bankhead, we arrived in Heidelberg Germany where Emily, Brandon and Claire live. They were WONDERFUL hosts and showed us around the area like true locals. Emily is even picking up quite a bit of German! Heidelberg is a fairy tale town, with a cathedral in the middle of a red-roof village, a castle on a hill, and a river running through it all. It's truly magical. The Browns also showed us around several surrounding villages. We happenned to visit Germany during the annual asparagus (spargel) harvest, which in Germany means a FEST! So during our short time in Germany we got to enjoy the delicious, if not strange looking (it's fat and white) fresh-harvested asparagus at Swetzingen's Spargelfest! What an experience!
After a few magial days in Germany, we hopped a short flight to Venice, Italy. Now, being in venice is like being in a time warp to the 1800's. The city is completely quiet since there are no cars, only boats on the canals. We stayed in a beautiful 3-bedroom Bed & Breakfast run by a nice lady named Claudette. Aside from a few mosquito's, the room was absolutely perfect. Since Venice is so small, you can pretty much see the whole thing in a couple of days. We were there for 2 and loved every minute of it. My favorite was checking out the ceiling of St. Mark's Basilica which is completely covered with 24k gold mosaics so the whole thing just sparkles! It's amazing. It was also an incredible experience sitting in a square that's featured in so many text books and movies. No gondola ride for us, due to the outrageous $150 charge, we were perfectly happy riding the public water bus along the Grand Canal at night. I know I've used this word before, but Venice was also magical.
From Venice, we took the Trenitalia to Florence. Training to Florence was an incredible experience in itself. All the vineyards, villages and windmills: very European. In Florence we completely fell in love with Renaissance Sculpture, more specifically with Michelangelo. Sitting in front of the massive, perfect scuplture of Michelangelo's David was a truly powerful and humbling experience. It doesn't matter how many pictures or replica's you've seen, the real thing is SO MUCH BETTER. We also enjoyed touring the Uffizi Gallery and seeing some incredible original paitings. Who knew the two of us could end up so cultured? We loved it. Oh, and outside the Uffizi Gallery there is a big raised porch that's just open to the public with tons of famous original sculptures - just out in the open! Gotta love Florence! And maybe the best part of Florence was the ridiculously huge and beautiful Duomo Church. It's decorated in our wedding colors (pink, green and yellow) and is more a shrine to art and science than to religion. It's beautiful, to say the least. Here's a picture!
After Florence, it was off to Rome - the big city. I was the most excited about visiting Rome and the city did not disappoint. We were in Rome for 4 days and ran ourselves ragged seeing just about everything we wanted to see. Here are some highlights from our time in the Eternal City: Touring the Pantheon - which is 2500 years old and in nearly perfect condition! Stumbling across Castel St. Angelo's - key historical site in Angels & Demons. Getting lost on the ancient cobblestone streets of Rome. Eating gelato EVERY DAY! Eating delicious pasta at Trevi Fountain 2 days in a row, not buying roses from the street vendors - no matter how much they asked. Falling in love with Canova and Bernini at the Borghese Gallery - definitely the best museum in all of Rome. Washing clothes in the bathroom of our B&B. Siesta. Touring the ancient Christian Catacombs on the Ancient Appian way - over 500,000 Christions were buried there between 100 and 500 AD. Meeting some new friends from Indiana and driving around Rome and eating dinner with them. Eating the best pizza ever! (Alan's had an entire whole hard-boiled egg on it.) Standing in awe in the Colosseum, which earns it's name even 2500 years after it was built. Exploring the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum and getting horribly sunburned in the process. Meeting some incredible artists and entertainers at Piazza Navona. Being completely disappointed with the Spanish steps - we didn't get what all the fuss was about. Being completely blown away by St. Peter's and The Vatican. Getting crick's in our necks from staring so long at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Studying Raphael's School of Athens - it's huge! Eating lots of fresh cheese. Climbing the dome of St. Peters. Attending Mass in St. Peters - choir and all! Visiting the Colosseum at night - a completely different experience than during the day. Mastering the Roman Metro system. Having the time of my life with my very best friend. Experiencing history and culture like never before. Growing up, learning about ourselves and eachother and our world. It was truly an unforgettable experience.