there’s no place like home

Driving into the gorgeous California Sierra Mountains
6 flags Magic Mountain {concurred some fears here}
Disneyland! ❤
My favorite place in the world.
{these are just a few pictures I had on my phone, I’ll upload more pictures from our trip later!}

California was AMAZING! I can’t even describe how great it was to be back in gorgeous Danville/Pleasanton with our families and sunny weather. Everything about our trip was great. {ok maybe not the 14.5 hour drive back to Idaho yesterday}

It started with our road trip out to California Wednesday, the 17th at noon. I went to work in the morning to get everything ready and then Mark picked me up and we headed west. We decided that we were going to stay the night in Reno and drive the rest of the way in the morning. When we got to our hotel in Reno we hit up the slot machines! I’d never gambled before so I thought it would be fun to put a few dollars in and try my luck. Boy was I wrong. How do people sit there for hours and lose their money like that? after hitting the button a few times I was already bored! But let it be known that I won 88 cents! {then Mark told me I should stop since we were up and he took the money and wanted to play black jack and lost all $5.88. I was annoyed. but at least it was chump change and not our life savings, ok lets be honest that is chump change too!}
In the morning we got back in the car and finished the drive. We pulled up to my house at about 1:00 to find my baby sister Courtney and my sister Rachel waiting for us! {Courtney is always the most excited for us to come home. I call her my baby sister but she is now 12 years old. When I left for college she was just 8. She will always be my baby sis.} So we hung around my house and relaxed until my mom and dad got home from work. It is the best feeling to see your parents so excited to see you! Then Mark and I headed out to the DMV to get my new drivers license. I am no longer Barker. A year later and I am a Warren. I am so happy to get ride of my old license with my permit picture from when I was 15! But I’ll be honest the new picture isn’t a model shot that’s for sure, but at least I look older than 13 and I don’t have a choker necklace on…
Anyways, then we went back to my house and chilled with my family. It was great being all together, laughing at each other, talking about life and being happy.  I finally truly understand when Dorthy said “There’s no place like home.”

The next day was Mark’s cousin’s wedding so we spent the day with the Warren’s. It was great to witness Michelle’s beautiful sealing in the temple and be with all of Mark’s family in the temple again. The day was full of lots of pictures, smiles and dancing little nieces. The reception fit their personalities to the t. It was very vintage with a big band and swing dancing. We had a great time.

The next morning we took family pictures at Mark’s parents house with his three brothers, our three sisters-in-law and our 7 nieces and one nephew. It was a large task to get all the kids to sit and smile but I can’t wait to see how they turned out!

Then we went back to Danville and went to lunch with my family. It was so much fun. When I was in high school we didn’t get to do a lot together because our lives were so busy. We never really went to lunch for fun so it was great to get to do it now. I love being with my family and know it will be even more fun as my sisters get older. I sat and watched my family as we at Kinder’s Ball Tip Sandwiches. It was fun to watch my mom and dad and my three sisters and Mark, talk and be so happy. I’m so lucky that my family gets along with my husband so much and than my husband loves my family.

On Sunday we went to my family’s ward because my mom and Rachel were singing in Sacrament meeting. I love when my mom sings, she has a beautiful voice that commands attention from everyone in the room. They did a great job obviously 🙂
That night we got to go to San Francisco {my all time favorite city} to do a photo shoot. We did a “trash the dress/rock the dress session”. I know, I know, it’s a year after we got married but we didn’t have time last summer to go to the city to do this shoot. Mark was a trooper! Best husband award. I mean most guys don’t even want to take wedding pictures the first time around, let alone a second time a year later! It was sooo much fun and I can’t wait to see all the pictures!

Then we headed over to Brentwood to Chris Murray’s house! Me, Mark, Rachel and Chris decided to do a mini trip down to Southern California to go to 6flags Magic Mountain and Disneyland. Chris and Mark use to go to 6flags all the time, it is their favorite place. We went on Monday to 6flags, tuesday to disneyland and california adventure, and then back to 6flags on wednesday before we drove back home. It was crazy busy and so much walking, but soooo much fun! 6flags has some craaaazy roller costars and I can proudly say that we went on all of them! {yes i was very nervous in line for Goliath, the orange one that drops 250 feet at 90something miles an hour, but i closed my eyes on the way up and opened them on the drop and had so much fun!} and of course disneyland was amazing. I loveeee disneyland. This is the 3rd time Mark and I have gone together in the 4 years we have been together. This time we got to see the World of Color show. It was honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen! Everyone needs to see it. AMAZING.

Then we got back to the bay area and spent thursday by going to Panera bread for lunch with LuAnn {Mark’s cute mom} and then went to the pool and tanned. This may have been the best part of the vacation for me. I love the pool!

On Friday both our families got together at my parent’s house for a bbq and to go to a concert at Blackhawk Plaza. The food was great! Costco tri-tip + watermelon, best thing ever! The concert was really funny because it was a rock tribute band and all the Danville moms were wasted and dancing. it was hilarious. We all {ok maybe not Brad} had a great time watching everyone look like fools.

Saturday was a hard day for me because it was our last day in beautiful California. Mark and I ran to the pool and played in the refreshing water. Then we ran back to his house and went to lunch with his parents at one of Mark’s favorite places, Amici’s. I couldn’t have asked for a better last day there. Then we went out to Discovery Bay to do a bbq with Mark’s aunt and uncle and newlywed cousin who just got home from their honeymoon, and Mark’s parents and his cutie grandma! We all jumped in the pool and had a great time playing.

This was the best trip home I could have asked for. It was really hard coming back to Idaho. The last night home I cried {I know, embarrassing, how old am I} but it’s hard leaving your family and your home town. It’s hard saying goodbye and knowing your going to miss another year watching your sisters start 7th grade and high school. I can’t help but feel guilty missing out on so much of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Rexburg. My life is changed because of the experiences I’ve had here and the people I have met. I have become the person I am because of this little town. I have built my testimony here. I built a relationship with a wonderful man that I get to spend eternity with. So much has happened over the past 4 years in Rexburg and I owe this little town and school so much. But I can’t help but feel stagnant here right now. I graduated college and feel like I am just on pause waiting for Mark to graduate. But now that it is getting closer, I’m scared to death for what awaits us…finding Mark an internship, decided what I want to pursue for my career, buying a house? what city to live in? I have so many mixed emotions right now I am just a wreck. And leaving my family makes it that much harder.
As Mark and I drove into windy Rexburg with lightning storms all around us, we decided that we were going to make the most of our last year here. Do everything we haven’t done, enjoy being in a quiet little town in a tiny little apartment. Go to the Blackfoot fair, look forward to the haunted houses and corn mazes in october, watch the leaves change color, play in the snow, and enjoy our amazing friends here.

Thank you to our family for the best vacation home and thank you Rexburg for the memories, bring it on winter!


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