Warning: Long over-due post ahead

So much has happened since I last blogged: Rachel, my mom and I went down to Southern California to 1. pick up her visa 2. go to my cousin Natasha & Wes’ wedding 3. see family and 4. go to Disneyland of course! We also sent little Rachy on her way to Spain for the next 18 months and then left the next day to go to Utah for a Barker Family Reunion. This going to be a long post with lots of pictures. Don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉

road tripRoad trip to Southern California

minnie earsNo Disney trip is complete without Minnie Ears

cars landWe have been dying to go to Cars Land, and it was well worth the wait!

photo boothPhoto booth at Natasha and Wes’ wedding

rachelRachel leaving for Spain

boating  Mark, Courtney, me and our cousin Robbie. Thanks Uncle Mike and Aunt Michelle for taking us! It was a highlight of the trip!

family reunionThe Barker Family

great grandpaOur family with Great Grandpa Flenniken. He’s 99 years old and so sharp. I wouldn’t be surprised if he lives to be 150! He’s the sweetest man I’ve ever met, I hope to be half the person he is.

familyOur family with Grandma Bev stepping in for Rachel 🙂

friends  One of the highlights of the trip was seeing these beauties and their husbands! They are two of my best friends and I’m so glad that it worked out that we could all get together for dinner. Glenna you are a trooper for coming despite being sick! And Melissa I hope your trip to Jacob’s Lake and the Grand Canyon was great! I love you gorgeous souls!

To wrap things up, it was a wonderful couple of weeks. It was harder to say bye to Rachel than I thought it would be, I assumed I would feel like she was just going back to school for the semester. I think the difference is that I can’t just pick up the phone to call her or text her when I feel like it. But 18 months will fly by and will change her life forever. I’m so proud of her and this selfless decision she has made. She’s already been in the MTC in Madrid for 3 weeks. If you want to read her emails you can follow her blog at http://hermanarachelbarker.blogspot.com/

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A different view of San Francisco

invented the mission burrito
please excuse the bird…I didn’t mean to flip the camera off, I was just struggling to hold the burrito that weighed that of a small child

me&mark

us&nieces

What three year old can wink?! This one!
These girls did work on that banana split!
I thought this house was gorgeous with the succulents on the stairs
Sweet baby Cora
A post isn’t complete without Leo…who is now a lap cat!

While Dave and Lauren were here we went to San Francisco with them for a little day trip. I knew I was in for an adventure because Dave is not one to do the typical touristy day. He beats to his own drum and makes everything more fun. First stop of the day was the Mission. I had never been over to this side of the city, it was like driving into Tijuana or Ensenada! Dave and Mark love Yelp and Dave found the place that made the mission burrito famous. We went there for lunch and boy was it delicious! I scarfed down that monster and enjoyed every bite…I’m embarrassed to admit that I ate more than Mark and Dave but it was so worth it!

After, we went over to Lands End Trails and Seal Rocks, which I had never been to before. It was so beautiful, but a bit chilly. It’s on the West side of the Golden Gate bridge near Bakers beach. I will be going back there to explore the beaches. We drove around the city a little, went down Filbert street, the steepest street, went past Lombard street which was absolutely gorgeous filled with amazing bright hydrangeas, it was unreal! We wanted to go by again to get some pictures but it was too busy.

America’s cup is taking place in the city right now so it was packed! After vetoing Pier 39 due to the crowds we decided to head across the bay and over to Fenton’s Creamery, I was all for this decision. If you have not been to Fenton’s you are missing out big time! They have the most amazing sundays and even their food is great. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

It was also our niece Coraline’s baby blessing so we had a great time all getting together for dinner. I love this sweet little baby and she melted my heart when she smiled at me this weekend!

4th of July and the Fair

Mark & his nieces Callie, Belle and Sophia
how many nieces can you fit in Mark’s sweatshirt?

reese

Too loud for Reese

photo 2

Belle and Dave

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Summer has been in full swing over here lately. We celebrated the 4th of July with some wonderful friends and fabulous food. I couldn’t have asked for a better party, except for maybe better fireworks. For those of you who don’t know, Fireworks are illegal in California, except for the city we live in, Dublin. So Mark and I went and bought a box of fireworks to light off since there are no firework shows around here and I didn’t want to drive all the way to San Francisco to watch their show when I had work in the morning. One of the few things I really miss about Idaho is their amazing firework show on the river. It’s so patriotic and will always be a bright memory for me. Anyways, long story short, we had to take our fireworks to a “designated safe zone” which was really a giant catastrophe waiting to happen!

We also made it to the Alameda County Fair! I sure love this place and all the crazies it brings! I could people watch all day, just give me a big ol’ corn dog and set me on a bench and I’ll be happy, however, I will require funnel cake later! Mark’s oldest brother Dave and his wife Lauren (yes, Lauren Warren!) came to visit for the week with their 3 hilarious and sweet girls. (did I mention we have a lot of nieces?) I had a great time walking through the animal section of the fair with them. They wanted to see every single bunny, there were about 500…my arms got quite the workout from lifting each girl to see each bunny. Later we met up with some friends and went on one ride, because each ride cost $5 a person! But this ride was definitely worth the 10 bucks, even Mark had a blast, which is a large task because he is only thrilled by Six flags in Southern California. We went on the swings that rose a good 100 feet in the air. At the end of the night we got to enjoy a beautiful firework show, which made up for the lack thereof the day before. All in all, it was a successful fair day!

Beginnings of summer

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One of my favorite things about summer is the farmers market. M saw signs on his way home from work for the Pleasanton farmers market, and yes, Pleasanton is as cute as it sounds. So after a quick dinner we headed downtown and made our way through the hoards of teens in hoochie mama shorts, despite it being pretty chilly out, and couples with strollers and numerous dogs. I have to confess, I get a little anxiety at things like this. I don’t know if it’s my Italian blood beginning to boil or maybe I’m just a bit crazy, but I can’t stand people obliviously walking into you or cutting you off or, worst of all, stopping right in front of you. What is that?! It’s as if all of a sudden their legs forget how to move and just stop. But I tried to keep my temper under control and enjoy our little outing. We maneuvered throught the swarms of people and made it to the fruit stands. We got ourselves a nice little selection of cherries. Then we walked main street stopping here and there to look at booths and did a little people watching. I would officially like to welcome summer, Welcome! If only work was like school and we got a couple months off…

camping, 4th of July, fireworks, family and love

Ok so here is a picture recap on the past couple weeks! We went camping with the Hibbards, Hulls, and Bairs, it was soo much fun! Then we went down to Utah for the Stadium of Fire where David Archuleta and Brad Paisley performed, it was amazing, me and Mark sang the whole time 🙂 Then we came back up to Idaho for the Rexburg parade and the firework show in Idaho Falls. The past couple of weeks have been so busy but so much fun.
 I can’t believe how fast this semester has gone, I’ve been a college graduate for a whole semester now…weird. 
Camping at Teton Canyon

The Stadium of Fire

We went with Dave, Lauren, Belle, Brad and LuAnn

Jimmer was on the big screen…Mark was ironically wearing his Jimmer shirt haha

Brad Paisley was so great!

The Rexburg Parade (yes, Rachel stood in the street with all the kids to catch candy, and a piece of candy landed right in Mark’s elbow!)

At the Melaleuca firework show (this was the 3rd year Mark and I have been at the firework show together)

I got a longboard so we went on a longboarding date 🙂

I love summer! I wish the weather would stay like this year round, then Rexburg wouldn’t be so bad.

S’more friends

This weekend we went camping with some of our new couple friends, the Hibbards, Hulls, and Bairs. It was so much fun. We got a site in Teton canyon, literally right under the Tetons, it was beautiful. The river ran through the camp grounds.We spent lots of time talking around the campfire, hiking, having contests to see who could stand in the ice cold river longer and getting sun burnt (after layers upon layers of aloe, my near 3rd degree burns have turned into a nice tan :), oh, and we saw a Moose! Tara and I chased it! Mark and I had a great time and are so grateful for awesome friends.
When we got home yesterday we were completely whipped out! After doing laundry and showering we laid on the couch and couldn’t move. I felt so horrible. I honestly think I may have gotten a little case of heat stroke. I went to bed early. This morning we both woke up feeling just as exhausted. And to make things worse, its back to real life. I had to go back to work and Mark had to go back to school. Not that my job sucks or anything, don’t get me wrong, it’s a great job and my boss is wonderful but I would much rather take a lazy, mental health day. But I can’t…so I guess I’ll just be in this weird mood all day.

 Peter, Tara, me, Mark starting out on the hike
 Tara, me, Bonnie, and Diana at the river
 Hanging out around the fire
 Beautiful background
 Everyone on the hike!
 Right after we set up camp
Me & Tara!