Weekend Getaway to Gualala, California

As one of Brett’s birthday gifts, I took him on a weekend getaway to Gualala, California in Mendocino County. I wanted to give him a chance to think and plan for his future goals with school and work. A cottage by the beach seemed like the perfect place for that kind of thinking. We drove up the beautiful winding highway 1 to Gualala where we checked into the Russian-inspired St. Orres hotel.

St. Orres Hotel

As we were checking in, we met Rosemary, the owner of St. Orres, who said to us, “You’re staying in tiny Fern Canyon? How about a free upgrade?” We said “Sure! Why not?” She gave us a really nice cottage called Treehouse that was more than twice the size of little Fern Canyon, had a fireplace, sitting area, deck with ocean view, king-size bed, tiny kitchen with a mini fridge and of course our own bathroom. It was wonderful.

Treehouse

Brett and cottage

After settling in, we drove to “town” to get dinner at a local place called Pizzas and Cream. The town of Gualala is named after the Pomo indigenous people. Gualala means “riverside” or “where the river meets the sea.” It’s surrounded by beautiful, tall redwood trees and has a great view of the Pacific ocean since it’s right on the coast. We didn’t do much that night since it was rainy and dark (and I mean dark with no street lights!). We slept rather well that night until ba-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM…rumble-rumble-rumble. Thunder. Lightning and thunder. Now, we have both lived in the Midwest where thunderstorms are frequent, but it’s been a while since we have heard a thunderstorm in California (this might have been the first thunderstorm we’ve known of here in 2 years). I was scared. I snuggled into Brett and put the covers over my head. Luckily, it didn’t last very long.

It wasn’t raining the next morning so we took a little walk around our cottage to check things out a bit. Brett took some pictures of the beautiful redwoods.

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cute bridge

cute bridge

Breakfast was delivered right to our door in a little wooden box.

Brett and breakfast

Breakfast

It was as good as it looks! It started raining soon after we came in from our walk, so we spent the morning thinking/planning. We started a fire in the fireplace and settled in next to the warmth.

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As we were sitting by the fire, the rain turned to hail! We haven’t seen that kind of weather in California…ever! When the hail stopped, we drove back to town to get some lunch.

the hail on the side of the road coming into town

the hail on the side of the road coming into town

The hail looked like snow! It was pretty big too. We got a sandwich at Surf Supermarket and explored the nearby shops and boutiques. Then, we drove up to Point Arena to see their Lighthouse. It was closed when we got there, but we took a picture from a distance.

Point Arena Lighthouse

We stopped along the way to take pictures of the beautiful scenery. We would have taken more, but it was cold and rainy.

Brett and beach

We had some barbecue for dinner at a local place called “Bones” and headed back to the cottage from there. Breakfast was delivered to our door again the next morning only this time, we had a little friend who wanted to come enjoy it with us.

See the little cat in the window?

See the little cat in the window?

We packed up our things and noticed that it was a beautiful day outside. No rain. Bright blue skies. Warm and sunny. Too bad we missed all the good weather. But it was still great because if the weather had been beautifully sunny and warm, we might have been too tempted to play the day away and we really needed to plan. We took advantage of it the best we could by stopping to take pictures along highway 1 and picking up some saltwater taffy in Bodega Bay.

Brett, highway 1 coast

bright and sunny on the coast!

bright and sunny on the coast!

coast

Baby cow on the side of the highway!

Baby cow on the side of the highway!

saltwater taffy place

saltwater taffy place

Overall, it was a wonderful weekend getaway! Mendocino County was charming with tiny towns dotted along the coastal highway 1. We loved staying in a cozy little cottage surrounded by redwoods and so disconnected from the hustle and bustle of life. It was totally relaxing and completely rejuvenating. We look forward to going back.

Brett Jeffrey Peterson

Happy 26th Birthday to my husband Brett Jeffrey Peterson! When he was 2, he looked this adorable:

Brett at 2 years old

Brett at 2 years old

He has grown up since then and accomplished many great things in the meantime. Brett was born in Santa Clara, California and lived in the Bay Area until he was 8. Brett remembers participating in the New Haven Olympics where he ran relay races and other games with kids his age. Brett also attended DeCoto Elementary School.  Then, his family moved to Anaheim Hills, California where they practically lived in Disneyland. Brett loved that! He would go to Disneyland just to hang out with friends, ride a few rides and play some arcade games.

Brett started playing the alto saxophone when he lived in southern California. When Brett was twelve, his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. Brett started high school at Lafayette in Wildwood, Missouri.

In high school, Brett starting playing water polo and swimming. He was successful in both and was co-captain of the Varsity team his senior year. Brett took his first programming class in high school and became the President of the Technology Club (I guess some things never change…) Brett also played the alto saxophone in band his freshman and sophomore years. Brett took the ACT and got a very high score which allowed him to be accepted to BYU.

Brett started college at Brigham Young University at the age of 17 in 2002. He turned 18 while living in the Budge Dorms in Helaman Halls on campus. He had so much fun his freshman year at BYU. Possibly too much fun, but memories nonetheless. Brett was able to attend BYU for 3 semesters before he flew to Italy to serve as a missionary for two years.

Brett LOVED his mission in Italy. He loved learning Italian, eating delicious pastas every day, seeing ancient ruins and castles on a daily basis, and of course teaching the people of Italy about Christ. He had many great experiences that helped him learn hard work, dedication, love for others, self-discipline, patience with himself and others, among other things. He came home in time for Christmas, December 2005. Brett didn’t waste any time and jumped back into school that winter semester 2006. His handsomeness and personality won him some lifelong friends soon after he got to BYU.

That summer, Brett went to an institute class in St. Louis not knowing he was about to meet his future wife. He sat down next to a friend he met at BYU a few months before, who happened to be a friend of mine too. We met that Thursday night and started a friendship that turned into courtship and eventually turned into love and marriage.

Before we both went out to school that fall 2006, Brett asked me to go on a date with him when we got to Utah. Of course, I said yes. How could anyone resist his charm? We dated his whole Junior year and were engaged in June 2007. Brett started his Senior year an engaged man and ended it a married man. He graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science in Management Information Systems in April 2008. We moved to San Jose, California that fall.

Brett took his first job as a Consultant with PriceWaterhouse Coopers and worked there for almost two years. During that time, Brett enrolled in a competition with Nokia. The competition asked participants to take their newest phone, the N900, and hack it into something they loved. Brett and I love riding our bikes, so he had the idea to make the N900 a Bike Dashboard. He put me as his teammate (me! ha!) and he set to work creating his idea. It was hard work, but he did it. I was so proud of him. We flew to Las Vegas to present the Bike Dashboard to judges and much to our surprise we won! It was a great experience that allowed Brett to be innovative and successful.

Feeling like his creative side wasn’t being utilized enough at PwC, Brett opted for a job change to Verizon Wireless where he works with mobile devices and Verizon’s app store. He brings home new cell phones all the time and loves playing around with them.

We moved to Walnut Creek this past June and started a new adventure in a studio apartment across the street from Verizon.

Brett is a man among men. I am very lucky to be his wife. Never have I met someone so patient, humble and loving as Brett has been with me. He sets goals and accomplishes them–he usually has more than one project going on at home. His creativity inspires me. I love his love for learning. He is smart. He is handsome. He is full of integrity. He is Brett Jeffrey Peterson.

Brett at temple in Utah

Happy Halloween!

Brett and I had a fun Halloween this year. We decided to dress up as Mad Scientists and I think our costumes turned out pretty good:

Mwah ha ha ha!!!

Mwah ha ha ha!!!

We ordered lab coats online, welding goggles, black wellies for Brett, and then I found some beakers, the gloves and fake rats/spiders for the final touch. It was so fun. We put baby powder in our hair and mixed up a little black stage make-up and put it around our goggles to make it look like something exploded in our lab.

Mad Scientist Brett

Mad Scientist Brett

Brett made a Rorschach ink blot picture for me that looked like a skull so I could be a mad Psychiatrist

Mad Psychiatrist Sarah

Mad Psychiatrist Sarah

We had a great time at our ward Halloween party on Saturday night. We waited around for our trick-or-treaters to come on Sunday night, but we only had two! Needless to say, we still have a TON of candy! I’m sure it won’t be wasted though…Happy Halloween!