I just wanted to write down our impressions of Georgia so far now that we've been here for nearly a month! Overall we love it. Things people warned us would bother us about Georgia before we moved here:

(1) Heat
(2) Humidity
(3) Bugs
(4) Racism against white people

And now, things that don't bother us at all about Georgia since they were waaaaay worse in Grenada:

(1) Heat
(2) Humidity
(3) Bugs
(4) Racism against white people (we haven't experienced this one at all--everyone's sooo nice! There are lots of black people [not as many as Grenada though], and they're the ones with the friendliest smiles, biggest laughs, and funniest jokes.)

But seriously. When we told people we'd be moving to Atlanta, most people who had been here before told us that it was beautiful and lush and we'd really like it. The 4 things I mentioned above are the only things people told us we wouldn't like. And they're all things that were way worse in Grenada so they don't phase us. I think that if we'd lived in Georgia before we lived in Grenada we'd be having a much more difficult time adjusting.

In fact, from the brief time we've had here I'd be fine if we stayed here for Jared's 3-year residency that will happen immediately after he graduates from medical school. Many people make connections in the hospitals where they do their clinical rotations and then end up getting a residency there, so it's a definite possibility. However, there are just a few things that would prevent Jared and I from wanting to settle down here permanently. So here's a little list of what we don't love about Atlanta (we haven't explored other areas of Georgia yet, so this just applies to Atlanta):

(1) Roads + traffic. No left turn lanes and definitely no bike lanes. Lanes are thin and overcrowded, and traffic is horrible all day long. Multiple times a day I hear breaks screeching or long honks because an accident nearly happened. Thousands of car-related deaths in and around Atlanta each year.

(2) Lack of sidewalks. I'm sure this varies by area so maybe it shouldn't be on this list, but sidewalks are rare in/around Atlanta. We live in a pretty nice area of town but there are no sidewalks anywhere. Taking Savvy for walks can be scary because we're walking in the road and there's lots of traffic. When I have the car I like to take her to a nearby walking trail that's really nice, but...

(3) No mountains / quiet spaces in nature. The walking trail I just mentioned is about the closest we get to nature, but it's always really crowded and a pain to take Savvy on because she's in her excited puppy stage where she wants to say hi to and jump up on every person/dog. It's about a 2-hour drive to get up to the Appalachians, so I'm excited to go explore them on a weekend when Jared doesn't have to study. I wish there was something closer though! I prefer to hike several times a week.

(4) Distance from family. I get that we'll have to follow the jobs when Jared's done with medical school, but we'd really love to be less than a day's drive from family.


Those are pretty much the only negatives so far! And they're all minor things I can live with because, again, such a big step up from Grenada. We love having a nice apartment of our own that feels, well, American. We love having lots of options for date night again. And here are some Atlanta-specific things that really impress us:

(1) Southern accents. I expected to hear these only occasionally, but no. EVERY Georgia native has a southern accent of varying thickness. I love it! Southern accents make people sound so friendly.

(2) Southern hospitality. Ok, so of course you hear that people in the south are nice, but I've always felt that people in Utah are pretty nice too so I didn't expect anything beyond what I grew up with. But no. This goes above and beyond anything I've known. Everyone we talk to is so delighted to meet us! They all appear to love their jobs, whether they're farmers or fast food workers. We'll go through a drive-thru and the person taking our order or giving us our food will totally just have a conversation with us like we're old friends. But not in an invasive way. I was taking Savvy for a walk and this woman jumped out of her jeep and was like, "PUPPY! You are so adorable!! And she then proceeded to smother her with love. Then when we were walking back home half an hour later the same woman happened to drive by again and screamed, "I LOVE THE PUPPY! I NEED A PUPPY!!" As she zoomed past. These people are truly pumped on life.

(3) Huge trees everywhere. As you're driving down the freeway (or any road), you're flanked on both sides by giant deciduous trees that make it feel like you're driving through a canyon of trees. There's only one "mountain" nearby, and I'll write about it later. But from the top of it when you look out over the Atlanta area, it literally just looks like a spanning forest of trees. Towns and cities are hidden under the trees (except downtown Atlanta, which is really tall).

(4) Southern food chains. Instead of Wendy's and Burger King on every corner, we have Waffle House, Chik-fil-A, and Steak n' Shake. They're everywhere. And they're delicious. The morning after we moved here we walked into a Waffle House and literally everyone in the whole restaurant--employees and customers alike--shouted their welcomes and hellos and good mornings. We then proceeded to have a life-changing breakfast of waffles, eggs, fresh orang juice, and grits. Turns out I'm a total grits person. Next time I'm trying the biscuits and gravy.

(5) Georgia pride and national pride. We went to a laser and fireworks show our first weekend here. The MC called out all the branches of military service and all the names of the original confederate states. People from each representing area stood and made lots of noise. The laser show was full of patriotic songs and songs about the southern states and country songs about loving America. It's really cool to see the confederate influence here! When you hear about confederates on the news and in history class it's usually in a negative light. But when you hear about them here it's just a treasured part of Georgia's history and culture! Their ancestors were confederates and the people here are so proud to be American, but also to have confederate ancestors. It's cool to live in one of the original 13 States. Their's so much history here.

(6) Old homes/buildings. Like I just said, Georgia's been around for longer than Utah has. The southern style homes have so much charm, and some of them are really old and beautiful. We wouldn't mind a southern-style home someday. Heck, a wrap-around porch is practically a must.



General Impressions of Georgia

So this story was actually just going to be an introductory to a different post, but it wound up being kind of long so I guess it can be its own post and then since I'm confined to my bed today (read below for details), I'll probably write the other post too! It's a good day for my blog.

Last night Jared and I took Savvy for a walk. Whenever we approach our apartment at the end of a walk, I let go of Savvy's leash and we race to the door. She does amazingly well off leashshe never tries to run away and if she starts to wander we can always call her back and she'll comeso it's fun to let her go so she can run off her last bits of energy. But last night as we were racing, she ran in front of me and I tripped going full speed. Both knees and one hand hit the cement hard.

I'm so glad Jared was there because I have no idea what I would have done if I was alone. I tore a huge hole in my jeans and my knee was bleeding profusely. The adrenaline had me thinking I was going to just shake it off and be fine, but after Jared looked at the bleeding wound on my knee he insisted he carry me inside. When he put me on the couch and said, "Whatever you do, don't look at it," I knew it was bad. Within a minute both knees were pulsing with the worst pain they've ever caused. I'm glad I had the foresight to know that it would only get worse and have Jared bring me some ibuprofen immediately. I'm usually a pretty tough cookie, but this hurt SO BAD that I was seriously sobbing. My right hand was bleeding and in lots of pain and I couldn't bend either knee, so basically I had only one hand to pull a dress on while Jared helped me out of my jeans so he could clean the wound and take me to the Urgent Care. He was fascinated and kept saying things like, "That is DEEP. You're going to need lots of stitches," and, "My mom just sent me a suture kit! Maybe I can practice on you," and, "I think I can see the muscle down there. Maybe it's just tendon?" I was like, "YOU'RE NOT HELPING AND I'M GOING TO FAINT NOW."

I heart my med-student husband.

Jared had to carry me back out to the car because I couldn't put an ounce of weight on my knees without screaming. Our one friend we've made in our apartment complex was outside with her dog when Jared rushed past her carrying me. She asked if everything was ok, and of course I'm totally just laugh-crying at this point while I'm trying to keep my dress from sliding up above my underwear and I'm like, "Oh yeah it's fine everything's normal!" I get weird in panicky situations.

Once we got to the urgent care, I had to wait in the car and try not to scream while Jared found me a wheelchair. A nice nurse wheeled me in while Jared was locking up the car. She was like, "Is that your brother or your boyfriend?" I said, "Actually that's my husband!" She said, "Oh! Sorry, my mistake. I just thought you two looked a bit young, like you just got our of college." And then I said, "We must not be in Utah anymore. Also we got married three years ago." Just kidding. I said, "Yeah, he looks young for his age. He's 29 and I'm 25." Which is funny because he's actually 28 and I'm 24, but I didn't realize that until a minute later. My brain must've added a year to both of our ages as a defense mechanism.
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By the time they got me checked in and put on a table, the pain had subsided a lot. I think the ibuprofen must've kicked in. The doctor took a look at it and because the wound was too wide all the way around to stitch it closed, she just cleaned it out real good (ouch), slapped a bandaid on it, and wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic. I felt wussy for having to go to the urgent care just to get a bandaid, but I felt better knowing that my husband, who works in a hospital, was the one to suggest it. I was able to walk out a bit stiffly, and then we went to get shakes at a nearby Steak n' Shake. Not quite the Monday evening I had envisioned in my mind (my mind envisioned a trip to Ikea), but it could've been a lot worse! When I woke up this morning I had bled through my huge bandage all over the sheets, so I prescribed myself a day full of Netflix and chill.

^^Unrelated picture of me and the lil' goober playing at Alatoona Lake.
Monday Evening at the Instacare

I mentioned this in my last post, and if you follow me on Instagram you definitely don't need reminding, but Jared and I got a puppy! I'll try to keep this post short and introductory (ha, I'm reading through this after I wrote it and it's NOT short!), because I could probably just go on and write a 10-page essay about our sweet girl if I didn't limit myself. I could also load this post with pictures, but I'll just leave my favorite one there at the top and invite you to go check out her instagram account (yes that's a thing--not even embarrassed) if you want to see more.

During our first year or two of marriage, Jared wasn't too keen on the idea of pets (except for some reason he wanted a bird or a ferret that he could train to follow him everywhere and sit on his shoulder? he's awesome). I grew up with my family's dog, Brinley, and during my last year of high school and throughout my college years she was a particularly special part of my life. These are the years when I really discovered the mountains that had been in my backyard my whole life, and several times a week I would take Brinley with me on my favorite hike up Dry Canyon. Alone time in the mountains is a really good form of therapy for me, but I probably wouldn't have felt as comfortable going without my dog. She was my buddy and my security, and she came with Jared and I on all our hikes when we were dating and engaged, including the one when he proposed.

Grenada will probably be a time of my life that I always look back on with mixed feelings. I'll always be grateful for our 2 years there because of the gratitude it's given me for so many areas of life I took for granted before, but there will also be a bit of PTSD about it for a good long while. My first year in Grenada was hard. Easily the hardest year of my life. I was out of my element, severely depressed for much of it, and lonely. So, so lonely. I'd never lived so far from family before, and even though Jared was with me, in many ways he wasn't (med school, man).

During our second year in Grenada we began to see some light at the end of the tunnel and would often talk about what we were excited to have back in our lives when we'd move back to America. We began tossing around the idea of getting a dog. I was looking forward to having more wide open spaces back in my life, and hopefully having access to trails and other pretty places I could visit while Jared was working at the hospital. However, I knew that if I felt uncomfortable hiking by myself in my mountainous backyard in Utah, I'd probably feel uncomfortable hiking by myself somewhere unfamiliar. I also knew that getting out in nature and exercising more would be a nonnegotiable if I wanted to be really happy in our new home. I never felt comfortable going out on my own in Grenada, so I never exercised (probably a good thing--a girl was hit and killed, then dragged off, right by our house while she was going for a run while we were there). So anyway, a hiking buddy and a friend to have with me when Jared had to pull long day and night shifts sounded pretty appealing. It was hard for Jared to leave me alone for long hours every day in Grenada, so he liked the idea as well.

Fast forward to our summer in Utah. We spent our anniversary week house- and dog-sitting for my aunt's sister Erin. She has a great dane and a golden doodle, and we also had our cousin's golden doodle for the last two days. Jared and I were both really excited to do this over our anniversary because (a) we'd be getting paid instead of forking out money for a getaway, and (b) we could "test drive" having a dog together and see how we liked it. Although there were aspects of having dogs for a week that were inconvenient--they woke us up early and we couldn't be away for long periods of time--we recognized that those inconveniences aren't necessarily bad things, and the good outweighed them. We loved taking Penny on a hike up American Fork canyon with us, and it was fun to have some dogs to cuddle when we watched movies. We found out that we'd been placed in Atlanta while we were dog sitting, and I unexpectedly had a meltdown over it (Grenada PTSD giving me an anxiety attack). I went out to the backyard and sat on the grass and cried for a few minutes, and the dogs, sensing that something was wrong, came and nuzzled into my arms. Dogs really are amazing animals, and I was able to calm down quickly and put a smile back on.

So anyway, that's when we started to research breeds and look for our dog. I'd never seen Jared so enthusiastic about puppies, but because he'd been wary about getting a dog for so long I knew we'd be looking for something very specific. I think the relationship between dogs and babies/young children can be so sweet. Since we want to start our family very soon, our top priority was to pick a breed that has a good reputation for being baby friendly and mellow. We also wanted a dog that would be happy in a smallish apartment for the first few years of its life.

I someday want to get a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever because they're soooo pretty and athletic! But they can be high energy, difficult to find (no breeders in Utah), and extremely expensive. Jared initially wanted a Sheltie because one of our neighbors in Grenada had one and she was so well behaved and always walked at a perfect heel. I prefer a more outdoorsy dog though, and Jared said that as long as I could train another dog to be as well-behaved and loyal as that dog was to her owner, we could pick a different breed. The only other breed that really jumped out at me was golden doodles. I knew from experience that they were friendly, cuddly, and tend to be well behaved. My aunt and uncle breed golden doodles, so they were a great source of knowledge about the breed. Jared and I were also really attached to the idea of a dog that sheds minimally or not at all. However, Jared doesn't really like the look of curly-haired dogs and, again, golden doodles were out of our budget. We didn't want to spend much on the initial cost of buying a dog, but Jared wasn't excited about the idea of getting a rescue dog either. I respected his desire for a dog with papers and a known background, and his desire to own the dog from the time it was a tiny puppy.

Jared started looking online at puppies for sale in Utah and in Atlanta. We wanted to get an idea of what type of pup we could expect in our price range and see if anything jumped out at us. We didn't mention to our families that we were looking, because in the past whenever we mentioned thinking about getting a dog they had been dismissive of the idea and didn't take it seriously. Plus we didn't really expect to get a pup until after we moved. For some reason most of the dogs Jared was seeing for sale in Georgia at our price range were either pit bulls or great pyrenees mixes. Not the best small apartment dogs.

One evening Jared was looking on the KSL classifieds. He brought his laptop over to show me something interesting he had just found. It was an advertisement for two puppies in Kamas, UT. The dad was white standard poodle and the mom was a golden retriever/yellow lab mix. Even more interesting, the adorable puppies had flat coats (which Jared likes) and were selling for about a third of the cost that golden doodles and labradoodles typically sell for. We both loved their enormous floppy ears. I sent my golden-doodle-breeding aunt an email to ask what she though of them. She was suspicious of the non-curly coat, but suggested we go look at them with some questions for the seller and see what we thought. We got in touch with the seller, who informed us that there was only one pup left for sale, and we made an appointment to come see the puppy the next day.

At this point I knew I'd have to talk to my mom. We would be living at my parents' house for another month and knew that if there was any chance we'd be bringing home a puppy during that time, we'd have to ask permission first. I had a plan for what I was going to tell her (basically everything you've read in this blog post so far) before informing her that we were going to look at a puppy we might be interested in. I was nervous because I knew her opinion on us getting a puppy (babies > puppies) and because I knew it would come across as a not-well-thought-out impulse buy since she didn't know we'd been looking for a while. I hoped for a good hour to talk to her about it in the morning, but when I woke up she was off at an appointment, and she didn't get back until five minutes before we had to leave for a tubing excursion with Grenada friends. And right as she walked in the door, Jared got an email saying that his USMLE Step I score had been released. Top priority immediately became checking the score of this future-determining test. He did very well and everyone was excited, but I was only able to squeeze in a nervous-sounding 60-second version of "could we bring a puppy home if we like what we see today?" before we had to rush out. My mom gave her permission, but I could tell she didn't think we were really serious about it.

We were on cloud 9 all morning (all day really). Jared did better than he could've hoped for on his test so our future finally felt secure, we were tubing the Provo River with good friends, and we were about to go look at a puppy. As we floated along we talked about what medical specialties Jared could go into with his high score, and about potential dog names. I joked that we could name her "Emily" if we got this pup, because we'd be buying her on the day Jared found out his USMLE score (MLE...emily...get it?). Jared threw out the name Dixie since we'd be moving to the south, and it felt perfect. We went straight to Kamas after tubing, nervous but excited. The last thing we wanted to do was rush into an impulse decision, but we also knew that the puppy we'd be looking at was the last one available in a litter that seemed to have everything we were looking for at a very reasonable price. We knew we'd probably never come across flat-coated golden labradoodles again during our search, and particularly not within our budget. We withdrew the deposit money from an ATM, just in case.

As we pulled into the long driveway of the address we were given, we saw acres and acres of farmland and dozens of alpacas in front of us. A short woman came out to greet us, smiling, accompanied by a gorgeous white pyrenees and some sort of tiny terrier. Her name was Terrilee, and this was her farm. Would we like to see the puppies? Of course we would. She led us behind her house to a pen of adorable, buff-colored puppies. There were three of them, but one was being saved for her daughter and another had been sold to another family who was in Bear Lake and would be picking him up at the end of the week. The original litter had nine puppies. The mom was smaller than we expected of a golden retriever/labrador mix, which we liked! She was friendly and happy to see us, and clearly she'd had these puppies for long enough that she wasn't feeling too attached anymore. After she greeted us she ran across the farm to go play in a watering hole.

Terri let the puppies out of their pen so we could play with them. They were so sweet and had the funniest scruffy coats! Soft, short fur with wiry long hairs sticking out at random. The puppy we were there to see was lighter than the others, with less of a fluffy coat. She was happy to let us pick her up and play with her, and even when she was playing with the other dogs she'd leave often to come sniff at us and let us pet her. Jared threw a stick and she bounded after it, veering off at the last second to grab a much bigger pine branch on the ground and drag it around. We talked to Terri for nearly an hour, asking lots of questions and talking about farm life. She had been a bit surprised when the puppies were born without curly coats, but not too shocked. When she decided to breed her dog with a poodle, she looked at several studs and bred for temperament rather than looks. The standard poodle she chose was slightly smaller than the others and shockingly gentle, but with more of a wavy than a curly coat. She showed us a picture, and he looked like the sweetest poodle on the planet. She didn't know if the puppies would be hypoallergenic, but she assured us that they would shed less than most other dogs.

Jared and I walked around for a few minutes to talk about whether we wanted her. I didn't want to be the one to sound certain about the first puppy we even went to look at, but Jared said, " I think we should do it." It may have been all the adrenaline from his good test score, but I'm so glad we decided to throw caution to the wind and put down a deposit that afternoon on that alpaca farm! She was everything we were looking for in a puppy and within our price range (I'm sure the breeder would have sold them for twice as much if they had come out curly, since non-shedding is what people usually look for in a dog that's half poodle). The timing couldn't have been better, but I'll talk about that in another post. We picked up our puppy two weeks later, after we'd returned from a trip to Bear Lake with Jared's family. She was the only one left by then, and her ribs were showing. Apparently she lost her appetite when her last sibling was taken home a few days earlier. We snuggled her all the way home, fattened her up, and decided that Savanna would be more fitting for our sweet pup than Dixie. We love our Savanna, and I'll write more posts about her in the future! She keeps me busy busy busy, so one blog post a week is what I'll be shooting for during the next little while.
The (long) Story of Choosing Savanna

Whaddup blogging world?! Anyone still out there? Do people even blog anymore? Is there life after summer? These are the questions I need answered.

So we had one insane whirlwind of a summer. In all honesty I sat down with myself in May and had a convo that went something like this: "Hey Laura, you have a million things to juggle this summer. You can be done blogging now." "K cool, thanx."

And it was true. Blogging just was not even going to fit during those cray months. Maybe it would have for someone less OCD about their blogging, but it legit takes me 2+ hours to put together a blog post every time. Between narrowing down what pictures I'll post, editing the pictures, writing the post, editing the post, re-editing the post, and doing final formats...it's an ordeal. I totally get how people can turn blogging into their full-time job. Don't get me wrong, I love all parts of that process! I love writing and editing (basically majored in it), and I love taking and editing pictures (even more now since I feel like I got much better at it over the summer). It is a major time commitment though. And I get that it doesn't have to be, but blogging wouldn't be as enjoyable for me if I didn't do it the long, drawn-out way.

Now that we've moved to Georgia and Jared's started his clinical rotations, I finally feel like blogging can (and should!) be added back into the routine...now that I actually have a routine going again. There's no way I'm living in the South and not documenting it. It's been too wonderful of an experience so far.  But before I start blogging about Georgia things, I want to do one recap post of our summer highlights. As I was pulling the pictures I wanted to include this post, I got really sad about the hundreds of seriously awesome pictures of trips, weddings, hikes, etc. I took this summer that aren't posted anywhere and probably never will be. Nonetheless,  I'm happy I made the decision at the beginning of the summer not to worry about posting, because it wouldn't have happened anyway, so at least I never had to stress about it.

I usually don't just let me fingers fly and ramble my way through a post like I just did, but it's what's necessary for me to get the ball rolling again. Now that that's over with, here is a random sampling of photos and memories from our wonderful, busy, perfect, exhausting summer. It may be a doozy. Whole summers' wortha stuff in one post, y'know?
 ^^Jared and I drove up to Seattle to surprise his family in July! Not sure I'd do the whole drive-a-million-miles-and-hope-the-surprise-works-out thing again, but it was something we'd always wanted to try and this was the perfect scenario. We didn't find out where we'd be living for the next two years until the first week of July. We knew that we'd probably be placed in California, Chicago, or Georgia. We decided that if we were placed in California we'd take a road trip to CA to find housing, and if we were placed somewhere else we'd find our housing online and drive to Seattle to surprise Jared's family. This was the ideal surprise situation because we didn't want to tell them that we might be coming to visit, knowing full well that there was a good chance we'd road trip to California instead and then everyone (us included) would be disappointed. So anyway, it worked out that we got to go see them, and this is a picture I love of Jared and I when we went crabbing with his family on the Puget Sound.
 ^^Family pictures with my family. We haven't had a formal picture with all of us in years because of missions etc. We had a 3-day window between when Peter would come from his mission and Jordan+Amanda would get married and Jared+I would move to Atlanta when we could get a picture. We decided just to set up my tripod and take some pictures, so that's how this shot came to be! Honestly most of the pictures turned out blurry so next time we probably wouldn't do the tripod thing, but we did get one or two really good options for the wall which is all my parents wanted this time around anyway!
 ^^Dottie came to visit! Dottie is my #1 college souvenir (can I call you a souvenir, Dottie?). She lives in Texas, but came out to Utah for our sophomore roommate Marie's wedding. While she was here we ate all the good Utah food and drove the Alpine Loop to scope out spots for me to take engagement pictures for Jordan+Amanda.
^^Speaking of which, here is one of their engagement pictures I took! (This is Jordan's goofy smile, but lots of people who saw this thought it was his normal smile.) I did several photoshoots this summer, but for those of you wondering, no, I'm not pursuing a career in photography (or videography either anymore). Lots of people have been asking me if they can hire me to take their pictures, and although most of the time I say yes, it's not something I'm actively searching out. I find that I love photography as an art form, but I get stressed out taking and editing pictures for paying clients. I'd rather just take pictures of my new puppy and make her instagram famous and bring in money for my photography that way (but really). I did have lots of fun on all the shoots I did this summer though! They were all for family so super chill super fun. Plus I got to rent a 50mm 1.2L lens for these engagement pictures. #livingthedream
^^Roper family reunion. Ok, so all these pictures are out of order, but here's a little timeline for you:

+May 20-July 2: Jared studies all day every day for USMLE Step I (biggest test of his life, determines our entire future). I work my editing job and start the building blocks for an online store I hope to launch in the coming months. I get to spend lots of quality time with my fam since we're living at my parents' house.  

+The rest of July (I don't remember specific dates beyond this point) we do 4th of July things with my family; celebrate our anniversary at my aunt's sisters' house in Lehi while we dog-sit her pups for the weekend; surprise Jared's family with a week in Seattle; have a fun weekend with med-school friends up Provo canyon; put a deposit down on a puppy; spend another week after that with Jared's family in Bear Lake.

+August 1-26: Pick up our puppy (more on that in a future post--she's sleeping at my feet right now though, awww); pick up my brother Peter at the airport after his 2-year LDS mission; go to a fun family reunion in Eastern Utah (see picture above); rafting trip on the Green River; Jordan+Amanda get married; pack all our belongings into a moving van; drive to Georgia.

And in the background of this there's all sorts of other work and play going on. But anyway, I'm so glad we made it to the family reunion amidst all the craziness! We do these every two years, and it's so cool to catch up with aunts and uncles and see all my cousins' little kids growing like weeds. Jared and I both looked forward to this reunion for a long time. Jared would seriously mention it every month. I took lots of video that I plan to edits some day, but I'm still behind on Grenada videos so we'll see if I can ever resurface from all the video footage my hard drive is drowning in.
^^A picture at Jordan+Amanda's wedding reception! It's crazy to me that I have two married brothers and two sisters-in-law now! More Haines kids are married than not married at this point. I love Amanda and am so glad she's part of the family now. Also, their reception was in a nursery, which is always a good idea.
 ^^Mona rope swing. I convinced Jared to take a break from studying to come here with me and my dad and brothers. He ended up bringing his study materials and just watching, but it was so fun and so pretty and look at that hilariously awkward pose!
 ^^When I rented the fancy lens for Jordan+Amanda's engagement pictures, I had it for the weekend and did several fun photoshoots with my parents and with Jared. I'm glad they got a picture of this because this is seriously how Jared carries me and I giggle every time.
 ^^4th of July nine-square with cousins! This was such a pretty evening. There were 3 or 4 times during the summer when I was like, "Man, that was just too cool to forget. I need to do a post about it." One of those times was the 4th of July. I'm sorry, but I don't think anyone can truly appreciate July 4th like Jared and I do until you've spent a couple years living outside the US. This country is incredible. The comforts, the cleanness, the opportunities, the freedom, the feeling of safety (if you don't feel like these words describe America, I invite you to spend some time in a developing country and then come back and re-evaluate). Anyway, I'm sure I'll expound on those thoughts in my post about moving to Georgia, but anyway, I was like crying tears of happiness to be in America with family and big fireworks on July 4th, since last year we were in Grenada probably hiding under our one AC unit and watching Parks & Rec. #patriotic
 ^^At the beginning of summer Jared and I took our camping gear for a test drive on a weekend trip down to Zions. It wasn't our intended destination and finding an available place to camp was a huge struggle, but when we found out that we had accidentally discovered a secret entrance to Zions the next day, all was right in the world.
 ^^Dog-sitting Penny (golden doodle), Molly (great dane), and Siri (golden doodle). Jared and I had been throwing around the idea of getting a dog for a year, and spending time with these gentle giants is probably what made it happen. Molly is the calmest, coolest dog I've ever met. Penny (on the left) is the daughter of my cousins' dog Siri (on the right). Both are sweet and fun, but I have never ever encountered a dog like Penny before. She's this crazy cuddle bug. She'd jump up on my lap and push her head into my chest and gently paw my arm for snuggles. All the time. I was like, "I could live with this."
 ^^Fun on Bear Lake with Jared's fam! We especially loved spending time with that cute little niece.
 ^^Our surprise trip to Washington. His family's neighborhood has this cool forest lake tucked right into it that you wouldn't even know was there unless someone told you!
 ^^More crabbing.
 ^^Picking Peter up from the airport. So neat to have a picture with all of us in it! Poor guy didn't even get to sleep in his bed that night, since we immediately took off for the family reunion.
^^Jared and I on our Green River rafting trip.

Alright, that's a wrap on this post. There are definitely way more summer highlights I could post about, but I am wiped out and ready to post Georgia things. If I find myself with excess time over the coming weeks I may go back and post more in-depth about some of the events in this post, but let's be real, I have an energetic puppy so free time is pretty hard to come by. Be on the lookout for shorter, more organized, better-written posts in the future. They may only come once a week, but they'll come!



Summer Highlights (oh hey, I'm back!)

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