Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of Marriage

Being married for 25 years is kind-of a big deal. Dave and I started talking about how we wanted to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary on our 24th wedding anniversary. At first, we talked a good deal about taking an amazing Mediterrean cruise with some absolutely fabulous ports of call that I was dying to see. But, we knew that our 25th wedding anniversary was going to come right on the heels of paying off our house (we also made paying off our house by our 25th wedding anniversary a goal on our 24th wedding anniversary). And when we were throwing every last penny that we had at the mortgage, there isn't any left to throw at a trip. So the cruise will have to wait--maybe for our 30th wedding anniversary.

Then we talked about spending a few days in New York City when I have to travel back to Rutgers (yes, I know that is in New Jersey) in November. But the more we thought about that, the less in love we became with that idea. I think we really just aren't "big city" people, although I loved touring Philadelphia this past summer.

Anyway, the cruise was out and so was New York. We decided that paying off the house would be a big enough celebration. And I thought the discussion on how we were going to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary was closed. But in sometime in late June or early July, Dave floated the idea of coming home from Rexburg by way of Yellowstone. I thought about it for about 2 seconds and then said that is be a fabulous idea. Then I got busy on trying to find some place to stay, not an easy task at that late date.

So, on our actual anniversary, August 24th, we went out to dinner and celebrated paying off our house; we had mailed in the check on August 20th and were officially debt free. That was the best anniversary dinner, ever!

Then a few weeks later we took Katelyn back to BYU-I in Rexburg. I had waited to long to make a hotel reservation in Rexburg for Friday night so we had to spend the night in Idaho Falls. But spending the night in Idaho Falls turned out to be a great thing. We found one of the yummiest BBQ joints I have eaten at. Seriously. The beef brisket was melt-in-your-mouth yummy. And then on Saturday morning, before we headed out to Yellowstone, we enjoyed the beautiful trail that runs along the Snake River.

We stayed in West Yellowstone in what I think was the only available lodging (believe me when I say, I exhausted all searches in trying to find a place to stay). It was a nice, thought not inexpensive, cabin at a place called Hibernation Station. There was a nice homey feel in the whole complex. And I love staying in places that are not connected to the room next door.

Yellowstone was beautiful and scenic, as always. We saw lots of buffalo. We took lots of selfies. Dave did some fishing (secretly the whole point of him suggesting the trip). We hiked some hikes we have never taken before, because previous visits have always focused on hikes that will lead to the best fishing. This visit we compromised. Saturday was my day to pick the sites to see, Sunday was Dave's pick.

Prints found along the stream bank that Dave was fishing. Fortunately, we didn't see any bears or wolves while Dave was fishing.


It was a little different touring without the kids. As we were walking around familiar sites and driving past sites visited in the past, we would reminisce about those visits with the kids. It was fun to remember old times, but also great to create new memories with just Dave and me. We made each other laugh a lot as we spent time together. Probably one of my favorite interactions (laughing moments) was on our drive home.

We were passing Hebgen Lake, enjoying the scenery. Dave points to a house that is tucked in the trees overlooking the lake. He says, "Isn't that the best view? Looking over the water and out to the beautiful mountains in the distance?" My response was like this, "Yes, but if there was ever a fire, your house would go up in flames in an instant. Look at how close those trees are to the house." At this point, Dave smiles, slaps the steering wheel and says, "Woman, for 25 years I've been trying to get you to see the glass half-full and you still see it half-empty." Both of us immediately started cracking up because that is such a true statement. I guess maybe by our 50th anniversary I will have figured out how to see things in a "glass half-ful" way, especially with Dave by my side.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Two weeks down, 40 to go

I don't like to wish away time,
especially since these last two weeks were the only time we have with Katelyn since her mission and before she heads down to school.
as far as work goes, I am happy to put these first two weeks of the school year
to bed.
It feels like since the 17th of August I have been going at a sprint pace
to get ready for school.
I woke up in the morning and hit 0-60 in about 30 seconds
And then just stayed at that pace until I fell into bed
completely spent and exhausted.
This year was a little worse than normal because I was trying to get so much done
before Katelyn came home so I could spend as much time as possible with her.
I also decided that it would be a good idea to hold a vaccination clinic
right before the 1st day of school.
And, honestly, it turned out to be a huge success.
But getting that planned and organized
on top of my regular school nurse duties
was incredibly tiring.
We are taking Katelyn back to school tomorrow.
And on the way home, we are spending a couple of days in Yellowstone.
I'm looking forward to settling into a nice, steady pace
when I return to work next week.

Monday, August 31, 2015

August Deserves 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.