Sunday, September 18, 2016

Summer is Made for Hiking

I'm not sure when I decided I like hiking. Maybe it was around the same time that I decided I enjoy running. Or maybe it was when I discovered it was an activity that my dad and I can enjoy doing together (side note: I did not enjoy hiking when I was a bratty kid living at home). Or maybe it was when I learned to just enjoy being out and moving in this beautiful world. Or it could have been when I discovered that consistent hiking gave me a perfect excuse to buy another pair of trail shoes, Smartwool socks, wool pullover, jackts, etc. Whenever, or whatever, it was, I am grateful for it. And I'm grateful for summer and that summers here in the Inland Northwest seem to be created just for hiking.

Some of the hikes I've gone on haven't been very successful. Like the time that my dad and I, along with my brother and his 4 kids (ages 9, 6, 3, and babe in arms), oh and 3 dogs, missed the main trail head on a trail that was supposed to be maybe 5 miles round-trip. Yeah, that was not awesome. I'm pretty sure that we wound up hiking somewhere between 8-10 miles that day. But we survived and my dad went back a couple of months later and found the actual trail head. It is a much better hike when you start at the actual trail head.

This summer's hikes have been pretty great. First up was a hike with my favorite to two guys, David and Carson. We were camping for a couple of days at Priest Lake and decided to hike up Lions Creek to the natural waterslides. The drive to the trail head is not a fabulous road, lots of potholes, washouts, and I wouldn't recommend anyone attempt the drive without having a high-clearance vehicle. The trail is nicely marked and a pretty easy walk. There are a couple of small water crossings that are either easy to jump over, rock hop, or cross on logs. The day we hiked in was early in the season and the water rushing over the slides was flowing too forcefully to allow sliding, but the scenery was spectacular and the time spent with my boys was awesome.

That hike that I mentioned earlier...the one that didn't go so well? Well, Dave and I accompanied my dad one sunny Saturday to give it another go. This time was more successful because, as mentioned, my dad went back to find the actual Deep Creek trailhead. Glad he did, because it is a nice hike with some gorgeous views of the Spokane River and the surrounding area.

My mom runs a sewing camp in the summer for my young nieces. A nephew or two usually comes to hang out with my dad for the week. It wouldn't be a complete week with Grandpa if there wasn't a hike involved. This year's hike was the Pulaski Trail with my dad, 2 nephews (two of the four children who had been with us on the unsuccessful Deep Creak adventure), and the babe in arms who was now big enough to ride in a baby backpack. Fortunately the Pulaski Trail is a nice easy grade for most of the 2 miles, but the last 1/2 mile is where the significant portion of the elevation gain is found. The trail is usually wide enough to be 2-3 across and there are several historical signs along the way that tell the story of the Pulaski Trail.

All of these hikes were great warm-ups for the hiking that we would do on our trip to Kauai. That trip requires its own blog post.

Hold please for Kauai

Friday, September 2, 2016

Blogging Fail

Back in June I tried to commit to blogging at least once a week. I think that lasted about 2 weeks. Then it was July and I only blogged once so I thought I would commit to blogging at least once a month. That worked for July. Then it was August and I missed August. August. The sunset of summer when I should have totally been blogging about all of the summer activities. And there were some big summer activities this summer. But I just didn't get it done.

And now it is September and I need to at least blog about the summer's biggest event

Katelyn's wedding!

She married Michael David Rush on August 12th. They were sealed in the Ogden Utah temple on a gorgeous August afternoon. She looked stunning and was so happy to be married to Michael. There were lots of sweet moments that day...her picture with her brother, her picture with her dad, when she asked her dad to dance at the wedding reception. Each one of those moments left me with teary eyes.

I'll tell you it is strange transition to have a married child. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't filled with a lot of bittersweet emotions. But in the end, what really matters is that she is happy and that Michael seems to be a good fit for her. 

At the reception they had a box for attendees to leave marriage advice. I was busy and didn't get a chance to write down my advice. If I had this is what I would have said...
Love each other enough to be each other's biggest cheerleader
Love each other enough to speak the hard truth
Love each other enough to be kick each other in the butt to get moving if needed
Love each other enough to extend grace at the most trying of times

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Hardest Good-bye Yet

High school graduation:  not a problem
Dropping of for freshman year of college:  not a problem
Send off for a mission:  not a problem
Moving to a new home in Utah:  Houston, we have a problem!

I was completely unprepared for how hard this most recent good-bye was going to be. The finality of the situation was overwhelming. Realizing that this move was closing the long chapter entitled "dependent child" left me in tears. A friend recently said that life is a balance of holding on and letting go. No truer words have been spoken and I felt the impact of those words in full force as we said good-bye to our sweet Katelyn on Saturday.

We moved her down to Logan on Friday. It is so weird to know that the next time she returns to our home she will be returning as a newlywed. I'm happy that she has found the special guy to share her life with and create new memories with. But! I'm sad at the same time. I'm sad that I probably missed many parenting moments: parenting moments that would let Katelyn know I love her fiercely. Now I worry that I didn't show it enough. Parenting moments that I could have taught her more. Now I worry that I didn't teach her enough. I'm sad for those hypothetical missed moments.

I'm glad that she will be able to spend more time with Michael before the wedding. But all that time she is spending creating new memories with him and his family is time that we are missing creating memories with her. The fact that I am sad about that makes me sound incredibly selfish. Maybe I am. I'm just having a little bit of trouble adjusting to this.

And just when I think I have a handle on things, I walk by her very empty room (at least is now clean!) and I find my eyes welling up with tears. I have to tell myself to knock it off. She didn't die. She is completely happy. She will come and visit. And this is part of raising children. It is the natural progression of things.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Yesterday was...

 just another Manic Monday

I swear that should be my theme song starting in May. I just know that every Monday morning in May and June (until school is out) I'm going to wake up and wish that I had another Sunday. The Monday's in May and June just are set up to be all sorts of busy and hectic. The kids start to have more severe cases of "Monday-itis" and the health room becomes their refuge, until I kick them out. No fever, no puking, no dizziness, well you get 10 minutes and then it's back to class. 

And it's not just kids in the health room that make Monday's manic. Monday morning is when I review my list of "to do's" that I made on Friday to prepare for the new week. The calendar/list looks like a meeting every day (maybe several), oh and a couple after school. And don't even get me started on my end of year report that I have to turn in. I've been filling it out for 13 years and I don't think I have ever heard from an administrator or school board member regarding this report that is supposed to be read by them. Oh and this year, there are union negotiations and rallying the troops. There is also case managing and calling (oh so much calling). I do not love making phone calls. I don't like texting either. I would much rather sit down, face-to-face, and have a conversation. But where's the time? No one has time. Especially not in May and June but it has to be done before the end of the year. Oh and don't forget to mail home the immunization reminders to parents with soon-to-be 6th graders. And while I'm sending out mailings, send out the paperwork to students (and their parents) with life-threatening conditions. This way the parents will have all summer to get their child into the doctor and have the paperwork to me maybe in the middle of August. Oh wait, that never happens! Ugh, come on people cut me a break and get your kid to the doctor. Do you know that law allows schools to exclude your child from school if they don't have the necessary paperwork  in place? No, you didn't know? Yeah, that's because our district doesn't really like to enforce that. I understand why...they want kids in school. But is school as safe as it can be for the students if I don't have medication and doctor's orders in place to care for their medical condition? Ugh. I'm like a little hamster just spinning in it's little wheel, getting no where even though I have put in a bucket load of time and effort to make sure I have to done everything in my power to remove obstacles for the child's school attendance.

So work is always crazy and home should be a refuge. But there are planning commission meetings to chair. And research to do on topics that will be presented at the meeting. AND there is wedding planning to do. Yep, a wedding. It's happening in August. The bride is completely chill about letting others plan the reception and open house. Ugh! Just once I wish she would put her foot down or have a Bridezilla moment, but she has taken her father's chillax attitude to a whole other dimension. That attitude makes me a bit manic. How can you not want to have absolute control over what is happening at your wedding?!

And then our A/C decided to quit working on Saturday. Saturday. The day it was 93 degrees and that was only the start. Sunday was 95 degrees. It was too hot to sleep. It was too hot to eat. It was too hot to be happy. That made my Monday attitude all the more manic. Plus, I was watching the clock on Monday morning and began dialing HVAC companies at 8 a.m. sharp! And I kept dialing until I was able to get through. Apparently, we weren't the only ones in our area who had a crapped-out A/C unit. I was fortunate that I was able to get an appointment for today (Tuesday) and now I sit here typing wrapped up in two blankets. 

The good news is...only one more manic Monday to go (for this school year). The kids are out on Friday of this week, but I always have to go in on the following Monday to throw away medications. Medications that the parents can remember to pick up. So many medications! Some over-the-counter stuff (so sort-of inexpensive), but also prescription medications like EpiPens that cost $100+. Who has money to throw away like that? Anyway, one more Monday.

Except I'm doing summer school.

After all, there is a wedding to pay for. Wait...I'm planning it! Sweet that means I'm in charge of what we spend or don't spend. Hello red Dixie cups, Kool-aid, and dollar store crackers. Thanks for putting me in charge, Kate!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

One Week Ago

One week ago it was Mother's Day. I have to share how I spent my Mother's Day since it was such a wonderful day!

The Saturday before Mother's Day, Dave and I traveled over to Bigfork, Montana to spend the weekend with my Grandpa and Grandma Wight. They have a house right on the north shore of Flathead Lake. I always love visiting there because it reminds me of the summer many years ago when Dave and I sort-of got engaged. We were sitting along the lake shore, talking about where we would each be heading off to college in the fall, and David turned to me and said, while holding my left hand in his, "Will you save this finger for me?" I said sure and that was it. No "Will you marry me?" was ever said, but we both figured Dave's question was as good as "Will you marry me?".

Anyway, I digress. The purpose of last weekend's visit was not to relive memories from a quarter-of-a-century ago; the purpose of the visit was to spend time with Grandpa and Grandma as well as have a nice place to sleep the night before Dave's Spartan Race.

Sometime back in January, NBCSports ran a Spartan Race marathon on TV. Dave and Carson watched every episode and were hooked! They started looking for races to compete in and when they found the one in Bigfork, they signed up. The training went great. They invited me to participate but I politely declined. I'll stick with running, biking and occasional weight-lifting.

About 2 weeks before the race, Carson discovered that he wouldn't be able to participate. Finals at college and one last hurrah with college friends took precedence. Who could really blame him? I entertained the notion of taking Carson's spot for about 2 days, but when I discovered that monkey bars and jumping over low walls was a lot harder than I remembered, I told Dave that I would go and be his support crew instead. Dave has been such a huge supporter of me on all of my race adventures I didn't feel like I could really say to him, "Sorry, it's Mother's Day. I'm not going."

Being there watching him compete was one of the best Mother's Day presents I have ever received. I told him to have fun and don't get hurt. He went in with the mindset that wasn't going to do any penalty burpees. It was amazing to watch his grit and determination in order to fulfill his goal of no penalty burpees. The only burpees he did that day were the 5 burpees that were part of the atlas carry obstacle. He is such an intense competitor! And because of that he wound up finishing 1st in his age group for the morning racers (we later learned that there was an afternoon racer who had a faster time, but only by less than a minute).

Of course, pictures are necessary to complete this blog post....
Waiting with the masses
Over the wall...that's not how the pro's do it

400 yards of barbed wire crawl (or should I say roll?) Holy dizziness!

Bucket brigade

Last obstacle!
Finishing time!
Proud Spartan...aroo,aroo,aroo!
Not sure when the next Spartan race will be, but Dave and Carson have already been talking about it. And this time, Dave intends to sign up in the "competitive" division, not the open class. His amazing results at Bigfork might have created a monster. Love this guy!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

This Poor Neglected Blog

I need to get back to blogging.
It is more for me than anyone else.
In reflecting on why blogging, I realized it helps me process.
Blogging helps me learn and grow.
I've felt stagnant and blah.
I'm tiptoeing back into blogging.
It's going to take a bit to get back in the groove
So I'm going to go for once-a-week updates.
It will either be

If it happens on a Friday, I think I will write about things that are "follow ups"--like how I am doing living by my focus word for the year. PS, the focus word is "generous". Or maybe a follow up on how wedding plans are going. Yep, there is a wedding occurring in August.

If I blog on Saturday, it will be a soliloquy of random thoughts.

And Sunday, well Sunday blogs will be titled 'sup Sunday and will be about what's up.

See you soon

Sunday, January 31, 2016

4:1 and Generous Thoughts

As I embarked on this year of living generously, I knew that the first place I wanted to start was my thoughts. I made a riff off of the scripture in Matthew "for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). I wanted me thoughts and the feelings of my heart to be congruent. I wanted "for where my thoughts are,there will my heart be also".

This took a bit of work. I tried hard to follow the advice from Camilla Kimball, but first I had to allow generous thoughts to bubble up to the surface. As I've shared, my typical reaction is a glass half-empty response. Overcoming that first, natural reaction was (and is) a challenge. But I was determined to learn to be generous in my thinking.

One tactic I employed was to state 4 positives for every negative thought/reaction, a 4:1 ratio. I originally started with a 10:1 ratio, but that was a bit too aggressive for me so I backed off because I was getting frustrated and down on myself with the whole thing. What I learned, though, was that as I began to state positives first, the more positives I saw. Yay!

Another lesson angry confrontations, when I try to be generous in my thinking, I can often see past the angry words. This has allowed me to have deeper conversations with better resolutions to problems. And as a result, often the relationship is strengthened because I have tried to be generous.

This year is going to be great!