Monday, July 27, 2009

Farewell, Washington....Wisconsin, Here We Come!!!

Our last weekend in Washington was just perfect. Here's a little "recap":

On Saturday, we took the foot ferry over to Seattle for the day. The ferry is just so fun! We got some really great pics of the Seattle skyline from aboard the ferry. The main reason for visiting Seattle again, was to go up into the Space Needle, where you can see all of Seattle from really high in the sky. The first time we visited, we didn't have a whole lot of time, so we just stood next to the Space Needle and took pictures. But after hearing friends rant and rave about the view, we decided we just had to check it our for ourselves. So we did! What an amazing view from the top! Wow! The Space Needle is located in Seattle Center, where there are all kinds of fun things to do. So we spent the afternoon exploring that area. To get to and from Seattle Center, from where we unloaded from the ferry, we took the monorail. It was so fun! Of course, this was Jeremiah's first time on monorail, so it was great to be able to see his reaction to it! On Saturday evening, we stopped downtown to watch the "Alaskan Airlines Seafair Parade." There were some really cool floats, and we were especially shocked when we saw former Green Bay Packer coach, Mike Holmgren, riding in one of the cars! So cool! As we got ready to board the ferry, headed back toward Bremerton, God blessed us with the most amazing sunset! What a way to end our trip!

Yesterday (Sunday) we enjoyed a great sermon at Olympic View Assembly of God Church, followed by a really yummy potluck. Gotta love church potlucks! Then we relaxed together as family all afternoon and evening. So nice!

I've been packing all day today, to get ready for our trip to Wisconsin. We will fly out tomorrow morning at 7:30am, which means we'll need to wake up around 4:30am to get to the airport on time. If everything goes as planned, we will have two flights (Seattle to Salt Lake City-2 hrs, Salt Lake City to Chicago-3 hrs) and will land in Chicago around 6:00pm. Long day! We are so excited to see our friends and family. Here's the "plan" for our two-week trip to Wisconsin:

*July 28: fly to Chicago, IL, rent car, drive 2 + hours to Madison, WI to stay with Jake and Calle
*July 29: drive 5 hrs to Trego-see Lisa/Ryan, then Eau Claire-see college friends, then family
*July 30: spend day with Jeremy's family
*July 31: breakfast with Jeremy's family, then head 4 hrs to Sturgeon Bay to see my family:)
*August 1-10: family :) Jake/Calle's wedding (8th)!!! :)
*August 11: fly back to VA

If you are reading this, please do me a HUGE favor and stop to say a quick prayer for us, as we travel. We have quite journey ahead of us, and I am praying for God's protection the whole time. Thanks in advance for your prayers! Because we will be so busy visiting friends/family over the next two weeks, I will be taking a hiatus from this blog, but will be sure to post again, as soon as we are finally "home, sweet, home" in Virginia in mid-August! Be blessed!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Making Plans for our Last Weekend in Washington

I can't believe that this weekend will be our last weekend in Washington. Even though Jeremiah and I will be leaving on Tuesday for WI, Jeremy will be staying here to finish his transfer through Friday (July 31st), then will head back to VA for a week to check back into the Portsmouth shipyard, then will join us in WI on August 5th. I have a feeling that these next couple of weeks are going to fly by quickly between seeing friends, hanging out with family, and helping with the wedding! I can't wait to see everyone! If Jeremy doesn't have to work tomorrow, we hope to take the foot ferry from Bremerton to Seattle for the day to see Pike Place Market one more time, and also get a chance to actually go up into the Space Needle, which overlooks the entire city. It's supposed to be sunny and in the 80s tomorrow, so that would be the perfect day to see the city again! I SO hope Jeremy doesn't have to work! Sometime this weekend, I'd also like to head to downtown Silverdale for the "Whaling Days." I'm not exactly sure what that all entails, but maybe we'll just have to check it our for ourselves, and find out!! No matter what, I hope that we get some good, quality time in together, as our little family of three. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our 5th Washington Play Date!!

God has truly blessed us with all the play dates we've been on while we've been here in Washington. We've had an average of about one per week (one of the weeks we had two). What a tremendous blessing, not only to have toddlers for Jeremiah to play with, but also for me to enjoy some much-needed adult conversation! Here's a "recap" of the play dates we've been on, since we've been here:

1st: Peacock Playtime (with Best family-twins from plane)
2nd: Point Defiance Zoo/Aquarium (with Grine family)
3rd: Mall Play Area (with Best family)
4th: Trampoline/Wagon (Grines's house)
5th: Bremerton Fountains/Evergreen Park/McDonalds Play Area (with Best family)

So, today we had our fifth play date! Wow! Fun times! It was supposed to be warm outside today, so our original plan was to take the kids, Jeremiah, and his two new friends, one-year-old twins (one girl, one boy) to the Bremerton Fountains to splash around. The six fountains are all lined up right next to each other at Harborside Park in Bremerton, right between the ferry and the Shipyard (the shipyard where Jeremy works). Since it was so chilly, Jeremiah just stuck his little toes in (see pic). Jeremiah has become quite good friends with his new little pals. We even caught him holding hands with one of them (see pic)! Adorable! We were only there for a few minutes before the kids started getting fussy, so we headed to Evergreen Park, where the kids played on the jungle gym and climbed the climbing wall. We had been there once before, but this was our friends' first time there. Then, we went to McDonalds, where the kids ate chicken nuggets (Jeremiah's favorite!) for lunch and played in the indoor play area (see pics).

What a fun play date! Since we leave next Tuesday already, this will probably be our last play date. :( Even though we are sad that our time is coming to a close, we are also excited for the next "phase" of our big summer adventure, as soon, Jeremiah will see both sets of grandparents and all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins! We can't wait!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Picnic in the Park (a restaurant)

Jeremiah took a walk near Gateway Park today. It was only 60 degrees, so it was a bit chilly! We had to take jackets with us. Just recently, we saw an advertisement for a new restaurant, located right down the street, called "Picnic in the Park." So as we were finishing our walk, we stopped there to have some lunch. It was really tasty! Jeremiah gobbled up his grilled cheese sandwich, which was good to see, since he's been a bit picky lately, and not eating as much as I'd like him to. We also shared a fruit smoothy!! Yum! We are really looking forward to our play date at the Bremerton fountains tomorrow, and are hoping for some warm weather!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

4 Weeks Down, 1 To Go!

Wow! I can't believe that Jeremiah and I have been here in Washington for exactly four weeks now! That's crazy! Time really has flown by. We leave in exactly one week, to fly to Chicago, then drive up to Wisconsin to see friends, then family for Jake and Calle's wedding. I've pretty much gotten to see everything and meet up with everyone that I wanted to. The only thing left to do is to go back to Seattle and go up into the Space Needle. When we were in Seattle three weekends ago, we stood next to it and took pictures, but we didn't go up into it. The Space Needle takes you WAY high up, where you are able to look out over the entire city of Seattle. My friends, Lisa and Annie, along with a few others, have ranted and raved about the view from the Space Needle, saying that it is definitely a "must see." So, if Jeremy is not working this Saturday, we hope to take the ferry over to Seattle, visit Pike Place Market one last time, and go up into the Space Needle. This whole time we've been here, I've been sure to keep us busy with play dates and other explorations. But this week, I am taking it easy, as I know when we get to Wisconsin, we are going to be crazy, non-stop busy, between visiting some of my college friends, seeing family (both sides), and helping out with the wedding. The only thing on our agenda so far this week is a play date for Thursday, with the twins that we met on the plane. We plan to go and splash around in the fountains in Bremerton. We can't wait!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oregon was BEAUTIFUL!

I feel so blessed to report that we had a wonderful time driving along the coasts of Washington and Oregon this past weekend! I am still in shock over God's incredible creation! The steep moutains, blue skies, beautiful beaches, and cool rock formations along the coast were all simply breathtaking! I am also so thankful for my friends, Lisa and Annie (from WI), who encouraged me to go on this wonderful adventure! I can see why Washington and Oregon were always some of their favorite states to visit as a family!

Here's a "recap" from our weekend:

We left on Saturday morning and drove two hours west, to Washington's coast. We spent the next two hours driving along the southern coast of Washington, on HWY 101, otherwise known as the "Pacific Coast Scenic Byway" which runs along the entire coast from Washington to California. We drove through a town called "South Bend" which I thought was neat, because my parents were born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. Cool!

We continued on coastal HWY 101, as we crossed the bridge into Oregon. I was so excited, as it was my first time visiting Oregon! We were amazed by the gorgeous coastline we saw from that point on! Wow! Our first stop was in Cannon Beach, in northern Oregon. Movies, such as the popular 1985 "Goonies," have been flimed there because of it's spectacular beauty. We walked around the cute, little downtown area and had some lunch. It was extremely hard to find parking, as this was quite a popular place! The beach was so pretty! The big rock (in our family picture below) is called Haystack Rock, and is the "signature scenery" for Cannon Beach.

After spending a couple hours in Cannon Beach, we drove two more hours south, along the coast, to Lincoln City, OR, where we had reserved a motel for the night. As we drove, we kept seeing Tsunami warning signs! Yikes! I'm sure thankful for the two sunny days the Lord blessed us with! Even with the nice sun, the waves were still huge, and the air was very cold. I can't imagine how it must be when there is a storm....or even worse: a Tsunami!! Eek! As soon as we checked into our motel, we changed into pants and jackets (it was cold!) and headed across the street, to the beach, to take pictures (see below). Our hotel was on the D River (the shortest river in the world!) which empties into the Pacific Ocean (see below). We ate at Kyllos Seafood Restaurant (on the beach) for dinner, and were able to take in the incredible beauty of the gorgeous sunset (see below). Wow!

The next morning, we headed one more hour south, along the coast, to Depoe Bay, then Newport. Newport is about halfway down the Oregon coast. This was, by far, my favorite part of the coastal drive! The beaches along this particular part of the coast were so incredibly beautiful! I made Jeremy stop the car every few minutes so that I could take pictures. Bless his heart----he was so patient with me! We grabbed a very quick bite to eat, and then started to head east on HWY 20, through the mountains, towards Interstate 5, which would take us back to Washington. I was so sad to leave! I wanted to stay longer, but with Jeremy having to work the next day, we wanted to get back at a decent time. The twisty, winding drive through the mountains was beautiful, too.

When we got to Interstate 5, I was thinking, "Oh great. This is going to be boring compared to the coast." But I was wrong! The drive along 5 was actually really pretty too! Yay! Our original plans for Sunday afternoon were to stop in Salem (right along 5) to see Jeremy's Aunt and Uncle, as well as Jeremy's friend. But none of them were available to hang out. Bummer! Oh well! So we kept heading north, toward Portland. We took a little detour so that we could see just a bit of the city. Cool place!

We ended our wonderful weekend by spending time with our new friends, the Grines. We stopped in to see them, since they were on our way home, about an hour south of Silverdale. The guys (Travis and Jeremy) went golfing while Sarah, Sarah's mom, me, and the kids (Seth, Ava, and Jeremiah), hung out at the Grine's house, eating pizza, jumping on the trampoline, and having lots of fun. It was just so cute to see Jeremiah and Ava play together again (these were the same friends we went to the zoo/aquarium with last week). They love each other!

We got home around 10pm last night, vegged out for a while, then headed to bed. What a wonderful weekend!

Today, Jeremiah and I have enjoyed sleeping in until 11am, and taking it easy. I can't believe we only have one more week left here! We leave for WI a week from tomorrow, already! Time flies! Through it all, God is good!!!

Oregon Pics!!!

More Pics!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Oregon, here we come!!!

I'm so happy to report that everything worked out with Jeremy's work schedule and he has the weekend off! He's also able to use the rental car! So, that means we finally get to go to Oregon together! Jeremy has been there a few times before, but Jeremiah and I have never been, so we are really looking forward to it. My good friends Lisa (from college) and Annie (Lisa's mom) have let me in on all the "hot spots" in Oregon, as they used to travel there all the time as a family, when Lisa was growing up. So I already have my list of places that I want to see. :) Our "plan" is to leave early Saturday morning and spend the whole day driving along the beautiful coast of southern Washington and northern Oregon. At the top of my list of places to see, is Cannon Beach, where many movies have been filmed. I am really looking forward to seeing all of the moutains and gorgeous sights along the coastline. We have reserved a motel room in Lincoln City, which is about half-way down the Oregon coast. So we will stay there Saturday night. The motel is right next to a small state park with a public beach, so it will be fun to be able to walk along the shore there. Our original plan was to borrow our friends' camping equipment and camp somewhere along the coast, but at the last minute like this, there were no campsites still available. Oh well! On Sunday, we hope to drive over to Salem to see Jeremy's Aunt Joanna and Uncle John, and then meet up with Jeremy's friend Dan, who he knows from when they were in the Navy together. Dan was recently married, so Jeremiah and I will be able to meet his new wife. It will be fun to see everyone, since I haven't seen them since our wedding (three years ago) and they have never even met Jeremiah. Since we will be gone all weekend, my next post will be on Monday, where I'll be sure to update with lots of details and pictures!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Making Plans...

Since we had a sort of busy day yesterday, I decided that we would just lay low today and concentrate on making plans for the upcoming weekend. We are hoping and praying that Jeremy is off from work this weekend, and also that he can take the rental car (which he shares with another worker), so we can go to Oregon for the weekend! We are so excited! My good friend Lisa (from college) has told me all kinds of wonderful things about Oregon, so I've always wanted to visit. While we are there, we hope to stop in and see Jeremy's Aunt Joanna (Jeremy's mom's sister) and Uncle John in Salem. Hopefully, we'll also be able to visit Jeremy's friend Dan (from the Navy) and his wife, who also live in Salem. We really would like to take our time driving down the coast of Oregon on Saturday, then camping on Saturday night. My new friend Sarah (the friend we went to the zoo with last week) has graciously offered to let us borrow their camping gear so that we don't have to worry about renting it. What a blessing! On Sunday we hope to do a little more sightseeing, followed by a nice visit with our family/friends. Everything is up in the air at this moment. So, we'll see what happens!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our 3rd Washington Play Date!!!

We had quite a busy and fun day today! We spent the morning in the pool, which made Jeremiah so tired that he took a three hour nap. Wow! After Jeremiah's nap, our new friends came over to our apartment to have snack time and play with toys. This is the family with the one-year-old twins, who we met when we were coming off the plane three weeks ago. They are also the same family we had our first Washington play date with (Peacock Playtime). After the kids had had their fill of snack and toys, we all loaded up in their mini-van and headed to the mall, where there is a play area, specially designed for young children. We've been there a few times, but our new friends had never been, so we got to "show them around." All three babies had a great time crawling through the tunnels, climbing up the padded slides, and walking around the play area together. We just got home, and Jeremiah is looking REALLY tired! He will sleep well tonight, I'm sure! We are planning another play date with this same family sometime next week. We would all like to visit the Bremerton fountains together, where people of all ages are allowed to jump in and swim around. We know the fountains well, as they are right next to the hotel that we stayed in the first week we were here. We just haven't been swimming in them yet, so it will be fun to experience that too! Praise God for play dates!! So far, we've had one per week, since we've been here. God is good!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gateway Park/Jeremiah is 14 Months Old Today!

The weather was just perfect today, as it was about 65/70 degrees, with a nice warm sun, cool breeze, and clear skies. So I figured, what a great day for a walk in the park! Just down the road from our apartment is Gateway Park, where there's an area for skate boards and also some trails. I can't believe we've been here three weeks, and just visited this park for the first time today! I was expecting just a small trail, but was pleasantly surprised to find a trail that went through a beautiful field and led to another trail....and another trail....and another trail....and so on. As far as I can tell, there are four or five different trails that we could have taken! Wow! We only had time to do two of them today, since it was getting close to Jeremiah's nap time. We'll have to go back soon to discover the rest! Some of the trails were paved, some were wooden (my favorite!), and some were gravel, so I took pictures of each kind. I also had to stop and take pictures of all the wild flowers and the flowing streams. One of the trails led us to a picnic table, where we had a picnic lunch. Jeremiah chowed down on his pbj sandwich, bananas, and milk, as we enjoyed the peaceful sights and sounds around us. What a gorgeous place the Lord created! The entire time I was walking the trails, I thought of my parents, as they LOVE to take in God's creation by spending lots of time outdoors. They would really enjoy this place. I really miss them and am so excited to see them in just a little over two weeks, when we head to Wisconsin!

Today is July 14th, which means my little Jeremiah is now 14 months old! He's 14 months on the, huh?! Wow! What a big boy! This first 14 months of being a mommy has been incredible, and I am so excited to see what God has in store for us in Jeremiah's next 14 months and more!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Recently, Jeremiah has started to say the word, "no." Eek! That can't be good if one of his only words is "no," right? So far he says mama, dada, baba, duck, uh-oh, hi (sounds like ha), yay (sounds ya) Since he now walks all the time, he gets into EVERYTHING! He LOVES to toliet, so now we have to keep the bathroom door closed at all times. He also loves to climb in and out of low cabinets, which I don't mind all that much, as long as there is nothing dangerous for him to touch (glass, chemicals, etc.). He really likes to dig through the trash---gross! But more than any of these things, his favorite things to play with are power cords. Whenever he gets near a power cord (or anything else he isn't supposed to be getting into), we take both of his hands into our hands, look him in the eyes and say, "Jeremiah, no." Then we take him away from that area, across the room, etc., to try to remove the temptation. So now, when he is getting close to touching something on the "no-no" list, he turns to see if we are watching him, and when he makes eye contact with us, he says "No, no" to himself! What?! It's cute, and it's hard not to laugh. But the not-so-cute thing about his new word is that he has learned to use it when he doesn't want to do something. For example, if we are trying to put him into his pack n play and he doesn't want to go, he shouts, "NO, NO!" Or if we try to take something away that he isn't supposed to play with, he says, "NO, NO!" So that's not fun! Now, instead of using the word "no," we are trying to use the word "stop" when he is doing something he shouldn't be doing, just so that he isn't hearing "no" all the time. We'll see if this helps!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Olympic View Assembly of God Church

Today, Jeremiah and I tried out Olympic View Assembly of God Church. Jeremy wasn't able to join us because he had to work. :( My sister goes to an Assembly of God Church in northern VA, and I've always enjoyed attending with her when we are visiting her area, so I had a feeling I would like this church too. I was right! The worship was GREAT! My favorite way of talking to God is through music, so the worship part of any church service is always really important to me. Most churches only do three or four songs and then they are done, and I'm always saying in my head, "I need more! Can we keep singing, please?!" But this church did a total of seven songs, scattered throughout their service! What an experience! All (but one) were songs I was really familiar with, so that was nice. Jeremiah seemed to enjoy the nursery too, with all of it's toys and things to climb on. Jeremiah is napping now, and I think I'm going to read a good book. Tonight, when Jeremy is done with work, we have dinner plans with our friends, the Scotts. I had the Scotts' daughter in my class two years ago and they now live out here, so it will be fun to reconnect with them. Sadly, their daughter (my former) student, is visiting other family right now, so I won't get to see her. :( I'm looking forward to catching up with the Scotts and getting their ideas about fun things to do and see around this area.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Jeremiah and I went on a little "adventure" to the library today. The bus got us almost all the way there, so we only had to do a little bit of walking, which I was very thankful for, since it was just under 90 degrees outside and VERY sunny! We were both exhausted by the time we got home, and Jeremiah had a VERY WET diaper from the two sippy cups of water/juice I gave him to drink. As I was changing him, I noticed the start of a very small diaper rash. He hasn't gotten one of those in a while. So I decided to let him have a few minutes of non-diaper time. BAD idea! Just last night, Jeremy warned me that I should NOT let him have non-diaper time while we're here in this condo, because of all of the carpets. Back home, we don't have any carpets, but rather all hardwood floors, so if he poops or pees, it really isn't a big deal---we just wipe it up with clorox wipes. I literally went into the bedroom for 30 seconds (seriously-that's it!) to get our library books from my backpack, so we could start reading them together. As soon as I came back into the living room, Jeremiah was sitting in a HUGE pile of poop, and on his way over to "paint the wall" with it! Poop was smeared all over the carpet surrounding him. Yikes! So I quickly grabbed him and gave him a bath, then scrubbed the carpets. I scrubbed...and scrubbed...and scrubbed...with soap...we don't have any carpet cleaner (we'll have to get some now!)...and the stain is mostly gone, but still sort of there. I am dreading tonight, because when Jeremy gets home, he is going to kill me! He just warned me about this last night! Uh oh! I'm in big trouble! I've learned my lesson! The diaper stays on at all times!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Point Deffiance Zoo/Aquarium

Today, we went on our second Washington play date! We went to the Point Deffiance Zoo/Aquarium (near Tacoma/Seattle) with our new friends, Sarah, Seth, and Ava. Sarah and I met through her sister Lynsey, who I know Virginia Beach. As Jeremiah and I were getting ready to leave for Washington, Lynsey mentioned that her sister Sarah had just moved to Washington (Tacoma area) with her husband and two kids (Seth-5, Ava-1). So Sarah and I found each other on facebook, exchanged numbers, and made a play date for today! We had a blast, and were at the zoo from 10-5 together! We loved watching Jeremiah and Ava play together. They were so cute! Ava loved to give hugs, and Jeremiah actually returned her hug once! Seth was such a little gentleman, holding doors for us, being gentle with the babies, and letting us choose our favorite places to go before he made his choices. What a sweet kid! Some of our favorite exhibits included: elephants, polar bears, puffins (swimming birds!), starfish, seals, sea otters, and wallabies. The kids also loved the fountains!

More Pics!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Errand Day :)

Jeremiah and I had all kinds of errands to run this morning (Walgreens, Library, Dollar Tree, etc.) so we took the bus over to the mall area and were busy busy! We are looking forward to having a friend over for dinner tonight. We are also planning on a play date to the Tacoma Zoo/Aquarium tomorrow! Looking forward to that!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Jeremiah LOVES his new "Jet Ski" floaty!!

Since we had to pack light, we were unable to bring Jeremiah's leap pad water floaty with us to Washington. I was so sad, since I knew we would be in the pool a lot. :( But, recently, when we were grocery shopping at Albertson's, we found a really cheap "Jet Ski" floaty for Jeremiah to use! Yippeeee! We filled it up with air as soon as we got home, and before we could even get it into the water, Jeremiah crawled right in and scooted himself around in it (on the carpet)!! I forgot to bring my camera to the pool on the night that we first used the new floaty, but I actually remembered it when we went to the pool today. If you look closely in one of the pictures, you can see him kicking his little feet, which is a huge deal to me, as a former swim instructor! I try to expose Jeremiah to the pool as often as possible, in hopes to eventually teach him how to swim. Poor little guy is teething like crazy right now (four teeth are coming in at once), so he is chewing on everything and anything....including his new floaty! We just hope he doesn't pop a hole in it with his sharp little teeth! Eek!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My 26th Birthday was GREAT!!!

I had the most wonderful day today! What a GREAT birthday! Jeremiah and I slept in and then were cheerfully awakened with "birthday" calls from my mother-in-law, mom, dad, sister-in-law, sister, and wonderful friend. I was on the phone talking to all these wonderful people from about 7:30am until around noon! I was also blessed with all kinds of texts, emails, and facebook messages. God has blessed me with some really wonderful people that He has placed in my life! Jeremiah took a 3 1/2 hour nap, so I was able to kick back and relax with a good book (one of my favorite things to do---which I hardly ever have time to do). Jeremy got home from work a bit early and was able to take me out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse. He also treated me to a delicious Mrs. Fields cookie cake and some other little treats. Then I enjoyed a wonderful, relaxing massage at a spa. Wow! What a day! God is soooooooooooo good!

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July Weekend!!!

The shipyard gave Jeremy a three-day weekend (Friday-Sunday) for the 4th of July! Yay! What a blessing, especially since he had been working 14-hour shifts for nine days straight before that. So we decided to take advantage of the time we had together and go to Seattle for the weekend. Our original plan was to take the car ferry from Bremerton, right into Seattle. But because of traffic, we decided to go to a different car ferry, which left from Kingston, and docked in Edmonds, which is just north of Seattle. We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend together, visiting friends and sightseeing. Keep reading (below) for more details and pictures!

Ferry to Edmonds (North of Seattle)

We took the car ferry to Edmonds, which is just north of Seattle. We enjoyed being able to get a closer look at the mountains and surrounding areas.