Monday, March 30, 2009

Not very often will I create anything for our wonderful blog. Valerie does too good of a job herself. However, I cannot let her Birthday pass and not share just a few photos of her growing up.

Valerie Jean Anderson was born Monday March 31st, 1975. She was born at 2:41 PM at the West Valley Utah Hospital. Of course she was a beautiful baby weighing 7 pounds 10 ounces and 21 inches long. She grew up in Grantsville, Utah until she was 10 then her family moved to Kearns, Utah. After a short time in Kearns she moved with her Mom to Murray for one year and later she lived in Medford, Oregon and went to North Medford High. She moved back to Salt Lake City after graduation and that is when she and I met in 1993. If you don’t know how we met…check out our Anniversary blog coming up in June!



Sadly as I tried to create this surprise blog for Valerie I was only able to find one picture of her before she was 5 years old. I will be getting some from her mom…so watch for updates! It was also hard to find pictures of Valerie by herself while we were dating and after we were married. (I’ve got to save all of our couple and family photos for our Anniversary blog.) There are some cute AND fun photos of her too! As you can see some of the photos I scanned are not in the best shape but these are the only photos I could find of her. Valerie used all of her photos when she created a photo album for her Mom.

Valerie's first car and our first home lot in West Valley City, Utah.


Valerie is truly the love of my life. She does all she can to make our children and me happy. Valerie is independent and self-reliant. She can cook, dance and make, design or create anything! She is smart, loving, giving, honest and I could go on and on… I could type so much about Valerie’s accomplishments and things she is good at…. most who read this know of her many talents and more then likely she has shared them, taught and grown with you. However her one dream in life is to be a mom and homemaker... and she truly is the best!

Happy Birthday

my beautiful wife!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chichen Itza

Our final outing was to Chichen Itza. This site was recently added to the "new 7 wonders of the world" It was so amazing. We began on a big tour bus. One of the guides talked the whole 2 hour drive. He gave us all sorts of information. We stopped on the way at a little shopping center. We got a few Mayan statues for the kids and Grandpa and I also got myself a necklace that says "MOM" in the Mayan alphabet. It is pretty neat. We finally got to the Chichen ruins. As we walked in there were over a hundred vendors there selling all sorts of souvenir stuff. They totally lined the paths. Our guide was awesome. He spoke 5 languages. He told us from the beginning that he was going to walk fast because there was so much to see and that he would just keep talking the whole time. He made the open offer to feel free to leave him whenever you wanted. So we chose to book through it with him. He had so much information to share. First he took us to to the older part of the city. There were some amazing buildings. Homes, an observatory, lots of churches. The Mayas had several gods, so they had building dedicated to each of them. Most of their buildings had intricate carvings and amazing astronomical correlations. If you want to know more I have linked one site to the title of this post. Another great informational site is . Alright enough of the technical stuff. The buildings were amazing and the entire area was huge. We couldn't even go to some of it because it was closed due to being a current archaeological site. The main building or the castle was so incredible. It almost looked fake. It has 91 steps on each side and then one all the way around on the top to equal 365 total to equal the solar calendar. It also has 28 sections on each face to correlate with the lunar calendar. On each solstice, the sun hits it just right to make the snakes that run down each side of the building look like they are slithering. There are a couple cenotes and one of them was used for human sacrifice. They would generally shoot the person with an arrow and then throw them into the water. Pretty creepy. It was all so interesting and educational and really, really neat. I would love to learn more about the lives and culture of all of these ancient people but I guess that will have to wait.

After the tour we went back to the same little shopping center for lunch. It was really yummy and there was a mariachi band playing and dancers tapping around. When we got back to the hotel they were having some dancers perform on the patio. It was fun to see the different varieties of performers. They had a guy dressed up like he was old and doing a mute comedy act and even had a guy doing lasso tricks. We got a picture of the two of us dressed up like bambidos and sitting on a donkey but it is pretty bad so I'm not posting that one.

Even with the rain, this day was definitely the highlight of our trip.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Joe's Jeep Tour

The next tour we took was "Joe's Jeep Tour" This tour consisted of exploring some ruins, driving through the jungle, zip lineing through the jungle tree tops, swimming in an underground cave, lunch in a Mexican village overlooking the coast and a walk through a petting zoo.
First stop, El Rey...These ruins are just on the edge of the city, We had driven past them a couple times and not even noticed. This particular village was placed directly in the center of the peninsula between the ocean and the bay. It was also placed where it is surrounded by mangroves. It is well hidden from the surrounding areas and well protected from and tropical storms that threaten. It was neat because there was no one there and we could climb and touch and explore.
This is a view from the palace overlooking the market or trade center.
This building is where the traders would have to go and pay to be allowed to sell or trade their goods here.
Our guide, Pepe, was great. He even brought a package of tortillas so we could feed the iguanas that were everywhere.
This is a gum tree. The Mayas would use it's sap to make chewing gum to clean their teeth.
Next we drove to the jungle where we were rigged up with straps and clips and a super high-tech piece of wood with a hole cut into that they called a "break". We climbed the steepest ricketiest (is that a word?) tower ever. It was 75 feet tall, straight up.
This is our "oops we forgot to take a picture, run and do it quick" attemp at getting a picture of the tower. That darn thumb...but you get the idea.
Everybody was saying how scared they were so I volunteered to go first. It was so awesome. The worst part was stepping over the edge of the tower. There were two zip lines so after taking off from the first one you would hit a platform, unhook your rig, climb around to the other side of the tree, hook your rig back up to the line and go again. When my kids wanted more of a description of what a zip line is all I could think of was when "Go, Diego, Go" zip lines out of the tree house. It's was just like that. Zooming through the trees and hoping the "Mexican brake" worked. It was awesome, we're both so glad we did it.
All rigged up, ready to go...Notice the high-tech wood break;} After the zip line we went swimming in a cenote. A little geography/geology lesson...Cancun is on the Yucatan Peninsula. This particular peninsula was once under the ocean. After earthquakes and plate tectonics mumbojumbo, it ended up above the ocean. So it is made up of limestone and covered with coral. Not very conducive to agriculture because there are no rivers. The ground is just rock, with very little dirt. So the Yucatan has the largest under water river system. All of these rivers connect one way or another and they come to the surface in thousands of cenotes. They can be like springs, wells, caves, ponds, and the like. So we suited up and dove in. So we climbed down into the mouth of this cave and at the bottom was one of these cenotes. The water was cold but not "take your breath away" cold. Pepe caught a little turtle that was swimming around in there. It was awesome, there were stalactites all over the ceilings and walls. There was ancient coral and fossils all over the ground. We went down one tunnel where it was so shallow you had to crawl with your hands and let your legs drag behind and it opened up to the surface again like a well. Then down the opposite end to where it was so deep it creeped me out. It was a really neat experience. From there we dried off a bit and went to lunch. Another crazy bumpy jeep ride out of the jungle and into a small Mexican village. We ate at a small restaurant right on the beach. It was beautiful. I took these next two pictures to remind me of how much we have. The first is of the playground. Old rusted metal and all concrete and brick. It doesn't look like much fun to me.This is the typical house. Just a cinderblock, flat roof with a hut attached.Next stop was a petting zoo. I use that term a little loosely due to the fact that it was not what we American's think of as a petting zoo. We held crocodiles, snakes, monkeys, hairless dogs, deer, macaws, I think that's it. It was a bit disconcerting to walk through one section where there were 30+ adult crocodiles just sitting there next to the path as you walked past. They were all really docile but it still made me a bit uneasy. Feeding the monkeys was fun. They would pry your hand open to get to the grapes. The hairless dogs were gross, really gross. The guide said they were indigenous to the area and are now nearing endangerment because they are so expensive. WHAT??!!?!?!?!!? I can't imagine having to look at that thing every day. That was our last stop of the trip. I slept the 45 minutes back to the hotel. It was a great day and lots of fun and unique experiences. Now for the next day...