Monday, August 31, 2015

August Derserves at least One Post

I short-changed blogging about July's events. I vowed that I would do better in August; yet here it is the last day of August and August has been totally neglected. I had even made a mental list of all the things I wanted to blog about for August. Some of the things were small events, like my DIY adventure with chalk paint. And there was the 45-mile bike ride that I decided would be fun to do even though it was my longest ride ever and I had only ridden 20 miles as my longest ride this year. There was also a visit from a friend who now lives in South Carolina (that may have happened in July, but because I didn't blog about it, I can't remember exactly).

But August also had some BIG events that I wanted to blog about. The top three August events were:
  • we paid off our house! WE'RE DEBT FREEEEEE!!!
  • we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary
  • Katelyn's HOME! She returned on August 28th from her mission in Tempe
I feel sufficiently guilty for not blogging all of August, that I won't let the same thing happen in September. Look for more blogging, even if the posts are about the big August events (I just can't let those ones go with just a mention in passing).

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Words That Came to Mind

The other night I was pretty irritated with a certain male member of our household (and it wasn't the male child). I was hoping for a little help with some various household chores. The laundry needed to be done and there was a large stack of dirty dishes that needed to be handwashed since the dishwasher was broken at that point in time. I asked which one he would like to do and neither one was a winning choice for him. He then settled down onto the couch to watch TV. I then asked if he would at least wash the silverware when I had finished all the other dishes. He said OK.

So I start a load of laundry and filled the sink with hot, soapy water so I could begin washing the dishes. And you can bet I was more than a bit irritated at this point in time. The irritation grew with each dish I washed. When I was down to the last few dishes I said I was almost done and his turn was coming up quickly. He sleepily mumbled that he would do them later. I said the water would be cold. He said he would add more hot water and that was the end of the conversation.

I was pretty boiling at this point. I returned to washing the few remaining dishes, muttering under my breath the whole time. Muttering about him sleeping; muttering about having to do all the housework; muttering about every perceived wrong. Somehow through all the muttering this image popped into my mind.

No, no, no. GO.AWAY. I don't want to be the good for someone else. I'm not done yet being irritated that my love language "acts of service" seems to always be overlooked. How hard would it be to show me that you finally understand my love language and show a little love by washing the silverware? Seriously. Or do some laundry? Come on. I don't want to hear you sleeping while I am doing all these things.

But the image wouldn't go away. And so I continued to wash the remaining dishes pondering that image and phrase. What would be so awful about being the "good" for him and letting him sleep? Then the dishes were done and it was time for the silverware. I made the decision to do the silverware and let him sleep. More importantly, I made the decision to let the irritation go about the whole situation. And with each piece of silverware that was washed, the irritation slowly dripped away like the suds down the drain. When all the forks, knives, spoons, serving utensils, etc were washed, I smiled a little smile as I watched the man sleep. It felt good to not be irritated.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Catch-up Post #2: Family Reunion

Over the 4th of July weekend, Dave and I travelled to Colorado to attend the R.E. Whiting family reunion. R.E. Whiting was my great-grandfather. As a child, I spent at least a week in the summer at the family ranch in Colorado. That is where my grandfather, his brothers, and my great-grandparents lived. There were always lots of cousins, aunts and uncles around. I always looked forward to our annual summer visit. My grandma's molasses cookies and homemade bread were always available and absolutely delicious. There was swimming in the creek (which actually was forbidden because the creek could be dangerous and there was never any adult supervision), riding horses, get pop from the vending machine in Uncle Don's barn. We could earn money for the vending machine by picking peas for Uncle Rod or Don (I can't remember which one had the pea field, but I do remember I only ever made enough for a pop). And even though this was my dad's family and he could rarely get the time off of work to go for a visit, my mom always made sure to get us to Colorado for at least a week every summer. That was no small feat since she was travelling with 5 children and the drive was 11 hours from Tucson (where I lived until I was 12) or the drive was 18  hours from Aberdeen (where I lived during my teen-age years). Yeah, she is pretty much a rock star for getting us there.

But after growing up, getting married, having kids and being busy with life, several years elapsed between visits. The last time I visited the ranch Katelyn was about 7 and Carson was 4. Then there was a family reunion in St. George about 8 years ago which we were able to attend. So over the last 25 years, I have visited with extended R.E. Whiting family members a total of two times. When I realized how sparse our visits had become, I made it a point to make sure to get to this family reunion to visit with my grandma, those various aunts, uncles and cousins I had known in my youth, and spend some quality time with my nieces and nephew.

Even though it was about a 17 hour drive each way, the drive was well worth the memories that were created over the course of the family reunion. We had family volleyball that didn't result in any fighting (honestly, that is a HUGE win), makeshift horseshoe pits so that the horseshoe tradition could live on, an auction with family treasures (like a map featuring the Whiting Bro. gas station, a ball cap with the Whiting Bro. gas station logo, a replica sign pointing the way to the Whiting Homestead in Arizona, a quilt tied by my grandma) and every meal together as a large, extended family. It was awesome.

Probably the memories I cherish the most of the ones with my brother's kids. Nate wasn't able to come to the reunion but he let us take 3 of his kids. Even though they were loud and crazy during the car ride, I'm so glad we were able to take them. We played on the rope swing, kayaked and canoed around the lake, took turns helping our cousin Melody with her special-needs twins. I hoped they enjoyed their time with us as much as enjoyed our time with them.

Now for a few pictures from the reunion:
A mountain bluebird that made its daily rounds around the reunion site.

Dave with Reagan and Madeleine

The girls convinced Dave to give the kayak a try. Too bad it was full of water from Friday night's rainstorm. Dave's bottom got soaked. The girls thought that was the funniest thing ever.

Travis quickly became a kayak champ and was ready for the kayaking he would be doing at scout camp the next week.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Catch-up Post #1: NASN conference

It is a rainy Saturday morning this morning so it seems like a good time to write a catch-up post as the boys are absorbed in Shark Fest on Nat Geo Wild channel.

At the end of June I was able to attend the National Association of School Nurses' annual conference in Philadelphia, PA. I went with my fellow Johnson and Johnson teammates to be presenters during one of the break-out sessions of the conference. We presented on our efforts to bring immunization clinics to schools. During the 2014/2015 school year we were able to host 10 immunization clinics in schools throughout Spokane County. The clinics were offered to children 4-18 years of age and were free of charge. Vaccines that were offered were vaccines needed for school attendance. The clinics were well received and well attended. We also shared information about a 'Clinic in a Box' toolkit that will be available on-line in October. This toolkit will outline the procedures/protocols for school nurses to follow to bring immunization clinics to their schools.

J&J team,  Cheryl Sampson, me, Dawn Epler, and Becky Droter

I learned a few things about myself while I was at the NASN conference. First, I really am not a "conference girl", meaning I did not enjoy sitting all day in a conference center listening to lectures and presentations. I tried to pick topics that sounded interesting, but even though sessions didn't really hold my attention for very long. Fortunately, we were in a city full of history and the conference center was only about a mile away from the historical hub. After I attended all I could handle of the conference on a given day, I wandered down to the historical district and absorbed all of the history that I could. I posted way too many selfies on Instragram of my touring.
I also learned that there are some things that really make me think of and miss Kate. One of my favorite things that I found in Philadelphia was the Once Upon a Story history benches sponsored by the National Park Service. These benches were scattered throughout the historical district and had 20-something young women as the story tellers. There was one gal who reminded me so much of Katelyn. It wasn't just that she was blonde-hair, blue-eyed, but it was also her mannerisms and voice inflection as she told the story. I visited her bench three different times just to listen to her and picture Katelyn in that role. This is kind-of embarrassing to admit, but during one story I got a little teary-eyed because I was just overwhelmed with my thoughts of Katelyn and I missed her immensely at that moment.
Presenting at the conference also reaffirmed my love for public speaking and presenting. My teammates expressed some anxiety and sleep disturbance the night before our presentation. I, however, slept like a baby (that might have been due to my adventure in getting to Philly) and had no butterflies or anxiety before or during our presentation.
Finally, I learned that conferences can be a great place to catch up with friends who live on the other side of the country. Last year when I was at the Johnson and Johnson institute, I met a gal from Alexandria, Virginia. We clicked immediately and have spent the last year exchanging occasional texts. It was fun to reconnect with her at the NASN conference.
She is a runner so we also got in a couple of 6 mile runs in the mornings to start our conference days off right. Of course, you can't be in Philadelphia and not take a picture with Rocky so we made sure to do this on one of our runs.
Next year's NASN conference is in Indianapolis. I won't be attending that one. However, the following year is in San Diego. Althea and I have already made plans to meet again in San Diego.
Flying home we were chasing the sun as it went down. I was able to capture a few sunset pictures over Denver to help feed my sunset obsession.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fathers Are So Special

Yesterday was Father's Day.
It was also the first Father's Day for my dear friend without her father on earth.
My heart hurt for her as I saw all of the Facebook posts about awesome daddy's.
I can't imagine how hard yesterday must have been for her and her mom.
I know I would certainly have a difficult time on Father's Day
if I didn't have these awesome fathers on the earth.
I have learned wonderful and great lessons from each of them.
This is my father-in-law, Rich. I have known him for more than half of my life. He has taught me how to slalom water-ski. Entwined within those slalom lessons were great demonstrations of patience, encouragement, and perseverance (he was willing to continue to drive the boat long after I was ready to give up). He has also taught me how to not take myself too seriously as I watched his example of goofiness. He and my mother-in-law raised a wonderful son who I am honored to call my husband.

This is my dad, Craig. I have to be honest and say that during my growing up years, we had some major bumps in the road. Until my junior year, I wasn't sure how committed he was to being a dad. His job kept him very busy and away from the family. And then when he did re-commit himself to our family and being a dad, I wasn't sure I wanted or needed him. It was rough. But, he did teach me many things. He taught me to be strong and independent. He sparked a love of travel in me. Because of him, I am a connoisseur of cheese and other fine food. However, the most important thing I learned from my dad is that the grace of God is very real; that Christ's atonement and its redemptive power can absolutely change the heart. It was a hard, but beautiful and important lesson. I am so grateful that he is my dad.

This is my man.
He has given me two beautiful children and a wonderful life.
I have learned many things from him.
He helped me develop a love of being fit.

He taught me that there is never a problem that can't be solved.
He taught me that a problem to be solved, should never be more important than a person to love.
He has shown me the meaning of absolute love and devotion.
He has helped me learn how to not be a yeller (although I'm still a loud talker).
He calms my crazy and builds me up.
The list could go on and on.
I certainly hit the jackpot all those years ago
when I sat down next to him on the tailgate of a pick-up truck
at the drive-in theatre.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My New "Love"

I wasn't going to buy a car, let alone a new car, so soon, but David insisted that I get it taken care of as soon as possible. Matter of fact, he refused to consider paying off the house until I had purchased another car. I knew he was serious, so I got serious about looking.

I swear, buying cars these days is so much better than it used to be when you had to sit at the dealership for hours on end negotiating and waiting and negotiating and waiting. I hated that so much, even though David was the one who always handled the negotiating. But with the internet, you can do all of the negotiating via e-mail. It's awesome.

So, first I decided that Subaru had proved their reliability and safety so I was going to stick with Subaru. Then I did some searching through,, and to see what kind of inventory was within a 500 mile radius of where I live. I sent out some e-mail inquiries to the dealerships that had cars that cargurus had identified as "hot buys". Then I waited for the responses.

While I was waiting, I went to the local Subaru dealership to drive a couple of different Subaru models that I was interested in. Carson really wanted me to look at the Impreza and David wanted me to stick with the Legacy. And I wanted to check out the Crosstrek. While the Impreza and Crosstrek were fun to drive and were more "dog-friendly", neither one had a power seat that could be adjusted up and down. Their seats do go up and down, but you have to manually jack them up or down and since there is a big discrepancy between where I have to have the seat and where the rest of the drivers in our family need the seat, the lack of a power seat was a dealer breaker. So I was back to the Legacy.

Initially I had inquired regarding used cars, but the inventory was low. And because of the law of supply and demand, low inventory means little to no negotiation on prices. That was frustrating. I tried everything to get people to move, but they were pretty set on the listed price. There was a small glimmer of hope for buying a used car when I found two dealers who had service vehicle loaners that had just rotated out of their fleet that were available for purchase. Unfortunately, by this time I had broken Dave Ramsey's number one rule (don't drive cars outside of your price range) and had fallen in love with a new 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited.

So knowing that I was out of my price range, I had to negotiate hard. I found a dealer in Lewiston, ID who had what I wanted with all of the bells and whistles and so I pitted them against the local dealership where I had test driven the car. Kendall Subaru in Lewiston was hungry for my business and would have done just about anything to get my business, unfortunately, they couldn't speed up delivery of the car and that was the deal breaker. I wound up going with the local dealership; however, if I wasn't in a time crunch for a car, I would have gone with Kendall. They were that great to work with. And I anticipate that our next purchase (whenever that may be), will be with them.

The silver lining with Kendall's eagerness to have my business, is that I was able to get the local dealership way below where they wanted to be because they were desperate to beat Kendall. I got the car for below invoice price and had $500 worth of options added at no charge. I felt pretty great about successfully negotiating this deal all on my own.

And I am in love with my new Subaru.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Good-bye "Love" Car

Subaru's motto is "Love is what makes a Subaru a Subaru" and I have loved my Subaru. It was a comfortable ride, nice amenities, great gas mileage, and safe.
From the scene of the accident

That is the result of someone going 50 mph, and while checking his GPS, driving into the back of a cement truck that was turning off of the highway. Amazingly, he walked away from that accident with only minor injuries. He is a little stiff and sore. His nose is bruised from the airbag hitting him. He has an abrasion from the seatbelt and minor cuts on his fingers from glass. His knees are bruised from the steering column being pushed up into his lap. Other than that, Carson was injury-free. Someone will say lucky; I say he was blessed and had some guardian angels watching over him.

We are grateful that we are only replacing a car and not paying for a funeral. He was on his way to LeGrande, OR to watch his girlfriend graduate. She was initially very mad at him (probably more worry masked as anger than actual anger), but she, too, is very grateful that he was OK. And we are both grateful that the accident occurred in LeGrande so that he was close to someone who could help him. We did have to drive down to LeGrande yesterday to go get him, but enough time had elapsed from the accident that I wasn't even irritated about the 9 hour drive. I was just relieved that we were going down to get a living boy.

As we talked about the accident on the way home, Carson said how angry he was with himself. He recognized that he shouldn't have let the phone (GPS) be a distraction. This was his Instagram post:

Dave asked if I would let him drive back down to LeGrande again. Well, first we have to replace my car. That may take awhile since the last time I was shopping for a car it took me 2 years to find something I liked. Also, I hate pressure shopping so I'm going to take my time. I just might take until the end of the summer. By then, Avery will be up here for school at NIC and I won't have to worry about the drive to LeGrande. But in answer to Dave's question, yes, I would let him go down again. If you fall off the horse, you have to get back on it. You just learn from your mistakes and become more wise.

PS I'm pretty sure I will get another Subaru. It has proven to be a reliable, safe car brand.