Wednesday, October 29, 2008

grateful for granite

First off, allow me to apologize for the freak nasty bath mat in that picture of Olivia! It has been taken care of (thanks El-Davo!).

Second, the granite went in today! I LOVE it. I am so glad we went the granite route. There is a lot of the movement and non-uniformity that I was hoping for.

We are inching closer and closer to the end of this project! Drawers and doors are getting installed, appliances get here tomorrow, plumbing will get hooked up next week....we'll soon be able to stop eating at McD's so much! ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

she's quite wiley.

Yes, that is Olivia, in the tub--fully clothed. Ethan wanted to play with some new bath toys the other night so I thought I would let him take a bath alone for once. Pibs didn't like that idea at all! She just climbed right in and had a great time. Her diaper was HUGE when she got out!

Kitchen update!

This past weekend, much wonderfulness took place in my kitchen. The frames are all up! It is awesome and I can hardly wait to start cooking and cleaning. I never have said that in my life, FYI. The countertops should come later next week, as well as appliances. We still have to put all the interior stuff in the cabinets as well as hang doors and install drawers but we are getting closer to the finish!

Kitchen and island.

Dining room buffet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

8 years of wedded bliss

Eight years ago Jay and I embarked on this marriage journey together! It was a beautiful fall day, much like today, only warmer. It was one of the most fun days of my life and I cried when it was all over. Many of you were there to celebrate with us. I can honestly say that each year of our marriage is better than the last. I still love Jay as much as I did when I married him but what I thought love was on our wedding day has changed as we've grown together.

I married Jay for many reasons that still hold today. But when I married Jay, I wasn't thinking about what kind of father he would be, what kind of roommate he would be, what kind of partner he would be. I was "in love", romantically, and thought we would be just fine with that. I distinctly remembering feeling like we were 100% prepared to be married.

I had a rude awakening our first year of marriage. It was hard to live with someone for the first time--there were a lot of mundane duties to work out. And then there was the financial stress of Jay getting laid off. We began fighting a lot--before we were married we would fight but it would be dignified. Not at this point. There was a lot of swearing and storming out of the house (mostly on my end). It got to the point in that first year that I was seriously contemplating getting out of the marriage. I just couldn't take it anymore.

I was driving home from the cabin in August after the wedding. I was crying a lot and listening to sappy music, feeling like my marriage was over. And then, I'm not kidding here, I feel like God spoke directly to me and told me to get over myself and make it work. I had to let go of the resentment and anger I was feeling and open myself up to Jay and fight for our marriage. When I got home from the cabin, we sat down and talked and basically agreed to turn the page. Move forward, don't look back. That is a principle that has served us well. Don't hang on to the bad stuff from the past--don't bring it into the future with you.

Thankfully we were able to repair things without much more than that agreement between us. We started communicating effectively again and things were great by the time we hit our one year anniversary. A lot of people say that their first year was a honeymoon--not so for us. But I feel like the struggles of that first year taught me a lot about staying diligent in my marriage and showed me that we can overcome the struggles that come our way.

That isn't to say we have a perfect marriage every day. We still have disagreements and frustrations but they've never driven us to the point we were at that first year. I was very romantically in love with Jay on our wedding day. On our 8 year anniversary, I am in love with Jay on a very different level. He is the best companion, partner, father, provider, Svenomenon band member, kitchen fixer, and electronics guru that I could ever hope for.

I recently put together a scrapbook for our wedding. As I was searching for stuff to add, I kept coming across quotes about love. None of them felt right to me because what I feel for Jay is so much more than romantic love. I think what I feel for Jay is committment. I feel like romantic love ebbs and flows, changes with your life stage. But the committment that I feel to Jay and to our marriage is what keeps me going. It is what keeps me striving to be a good wife and a good friend to Jay.

Jay, thank you for marrying me and being a great partner on this journey!

Monday, October 20, 2008

new poll!

Results of the last poll showed that the readers of this blog are 2/3 Republican and Moderate Republican. Certainly not a "real" poll but I think it shows that we all have our own minds and differ greatly politically--but we can all still get along! I've been somewhat shocked lately at what this election is doing to people. I don't get how having a different political view can prohibit friendship. I'll be glad when the election is over and we can get on with our lives!

New poll time. NPR is having their Fall Fund Drive, which I pretty much hate. They interrupt all the time to repeat the same message about donating and supporting the programming you listen to. I've been close to becoming a member a few times--and then something comes on so blantantly biased that I change my mind. I don't mind that they lean left--but I do mind that they consider themselves "balanced". Just own it, you know what I mean? Doesn't change the fact that I listen though because I enjoy a lot of the content.

So, here's the question: Do you listen to NPR and if so, are you a member?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

it's butter

Was anyone else slightly uncomfortable watching Dwight give birth to a watermelon? I usually have an uncomfortable look on my face as I watch The Office but this week's look was more one of horror mixed with discomfort.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

365 new things

My friend, Addie Royce, turned 18 yesterday. In honor of her birthday, she is planning to try one new thing every day for one year. Yesterday she started a blog; today she made a Facebook note.

Check out her blog and give her suggestions!

Friday, October 10, 2008

what to do on a beautiful fall weekend?

I'd like to take my family to pick pumpkins and/or apples tomorrow and need some advice on where to go. We were going to go up to a farm with the big Olson side but the timing is about as bad as it can get for us so we have to skip it. I know there are lots of places down near me but I know nothing about them. If you've had a great time someplace let me know!

Thursday, October 9, 2008 ends here

So I got tagged. I wasn't going to do this but I decided to be a slightly good sport about it so here goes.

Here are the rules:

1.Post the rules on your blog
2.Write 6 random things about yourself
3.Tag 6 people at the end of your post
4.If you are tagged, just do it, and pass the tag along!

1. I will never ever pass these types of things along. If you ever receive a chain letter-type thing from me, don't open it because it definitely has a virus. I got in trouble at Bethel way back in 1996 for forwarding something (something along the lines of 3 cents will get donated to children's cancer research or something--come on, we all did that back in 1996) and the experience has stuck with me to this day. So the game of tag stops here. Deal with it.

2. I never use web speak (is that even what you call it?). I will never say BRB, LOL, ROTFLMAO, etc. It doesn't bother me in the slightest when people write that way--I just won't. I will rarely abbreviate and take the quicker way, like saying b/c instead of because. I enjoy typing and writing and don't see a need to shorten it.

3. My family calls me DQ, short for Drama Queen. I usually have some sort of drama befall me on family vacations. One year I wore new shoes to Disney and had bloody blisters all over my feet before I even got to the airport gate--in Minnesota. Yikes. That was an unfortunate situation. The list goes on and on.

4. My family refers to my hair as "Montezuma". Yes, as in Montezuma's Revenge. When we go to warm climates my hair has a tendency to grow and grow. It gets really huge and traps heat, which causes me to get really overheated and leads back to #3.

5. I absolutely love to road trip. My fondest memories of growing up are hauling ourselves all over the country in our blue 1984 VW Vanagon. We saw some amazing sights and of course, the most scenic highways of America. Thanks Jimbo! ;)

6. I am super adaptable. I can change direction or plans without a problem. I can have a plan for what I am doing on a given day and so long as I haven't paid any money to do the things in my day I will change it at the drop of a hat if something more fun comes along. But sometimes I have my heart set on something--so if I push back and ask more than once if I can have things my way, just give in. I give in to you all the time and don't mind at all. Let me have my way once in a while. :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Kaibab Shuffle

The Kaibab Shuffle is the term used to describe the hobbled walk that many folks who have hiked into the Grand Canyon exhibit a day or two after the hike. I was 5 days out before I stopped doing the Kaibab Shuffle!

Our trip was great. We got to Phoenix on Thursday and immediately hit In N' Out--it was beyond delicious. Then we hit Target and loaded up on Clif Bars and Gatorade powder. Andy took us to a fantastic Mexican place where we stuffed ourselves. Then Andy and Jay did a quick hike up Pinnacle Peak. I stayed back due to my coughing and chatted with Don, the volunteer park person. He gave me lots of interesting info about the local vegetation. Did you know that a saguaro cactus takes over 175 years to get 30 feet tall? And that it can suck up 200 gallons of water in a very short period of time and then live off that water for an entire year? Arizona is dry and feels like a frying pan but it is definitely beautiful in its own way.

On Friday we made our way to the Grand Canyon. It was nice to leave Phoenix at 103 degrees and arrive at the Grand Canyon at 75 degrees! We took a walk out to the South Rim, which is where our hike was to end. I'm glad I wasn't paying too much attention to the height at this point, otherwise I might've chickened out. We had a great dinner and then tried to get some sleep to be ready for our 4 AM wake up. Didn't work too well--there was a huge party somewhere in the campground and they were rocking out to Lynard Skynard and REO Speedwagon until about 2:30 AM. And someone kept howling every few minutes. So none of us got much sleep but got to rock to the hits of yesteryear.

Saturday morning, 6:30 AM. We began our hike into the canyon. After a group photo we started the trek down. We were all excited to finally be doing the hike! Even the sign telling us to NOT do this hike couldn't dampen our excitement! :) At some points we were actually jogging because it was easier than trying to stop your body at each step. The views were spectacular--the South Kaibab Trail is very steep but very open. I was feeling good but the downhill is definitely tough on your knees. The lower we got, the more I started to feel just the slightest bit nervous. The walls are very steep and I was starting to wonder if this maybe wasn't the best idea. I finally made it down to the Colorado River (which was a gorgeous shade of green) and up to Phantom Ranch. The hike to Phantom from the river just about did me in (and it was pretty much flat!!!). I was really hot and needed food badly. I sat on a rock at Phantom for a few minutes to cool down. Jimbo was down there and glad to see me but impatient to get going. Jay wasn't there--he had already left. Jimbo made sure I was okay and then took off. There were still folks down there to hike with though so it wasn't like I was being left behind. Vujo always stays in the back to walk with the slow folks. Funny part is that he hikes in his swim trunks (and sometimes water shoes!) and could probably run up and down the canyon without breaking a sweat. So I forced myself to eat a Clif bar and drink some Gatorade. I may never be able to ingest either of those items from now on.

I was getting ready to leave Phantom Ranch when the very BEST part of my whole day happened. I saw Jimbo walking back up the trail towards me! He decided to turn back and stick with me. I almost started crying because it was just so meaningful to me. For those of you that know Jimbo, you know he is springloaded to the ON position and wants to always be moving. He loves to charge on and really push himself on these hikes. I just can't do that--I'm lucky to get out alive. So for Jimbo to willingly choose to go slow when he could've gone much faster meant the world to me.

Jimbo and I set off from Phanton Ranch and started the trek towards the top. The trail curves along the river and runs parallel for a ways--probably my favorite part of the hike. It was beautiful and FLAT!! We turned away from the river and started the long hike up. It was pretty gradual and Jimbo and I were having a nice chat and making fairly decent time. Then we got to the absolute worst place on earth--The Devil's Corkscrew. I am so glad I didn't know it was coming, otherwise I might've tried to drown myself in the river! The Devil's Corkscrew is a series of switchbacks that cause you to gain some major elevation in a really short time. It is pretty steep and we hit it in full sun. The trick with this hike is to get to certain places ahead of the sun--it makes a huge difference in how you feel. Unfortunately we ended up here as the sun was clearing the canyon wall. There was some cloud cover though so that did help but the temp definitely was rising as we climbed. We trudged along and I started feeling worse and worse. Finally, I stopped right in the middle of a switchback and announced that I thought I was going to throw up. And then I got scared. Because everything I had read said that once you start hurling, it's over for you. The only fix for this situation is to eat and drink but your body naturally does not want to do either of those things. As I'm standing there taking little bites and little sips, my vision starts to get a little funky. I start seeing a zigzag rectangle around my right eye's field of vision. Scary. I couldn't blink it away and then I really started getting scared. I tried eating and drinking more heartily but it was tough. After a few minutes my eye cleared up and I started feeling better. But I was still in The Devil's Corkscrew so how much better could I really be?

We finally got to the top of the Corkscrew. Jimbo renamed them The Rachel Killers--it was that bad. Jimbo never once got impatient with my slow progress or told me to hurry up--he was so encouraging and supportive. Best hiking partner ever! We were on our way to Indian Gardens. As we hiked up, we asked the mule train drivers how far Indian Gardens was. The closer we got, the further it was away, according to them. I almost felt like cursing at them. We started seeing the big cottonwood trees that lead into Indian Gardens. But the trail just kept going and going and going. I was starting to really run out of steam at this point--my feet were killing me, I wanted to see Jay and I really needed to eat. I finally snapped, "Where the hell is this place!?!?" and then I saw my sweet little brother Jake heading towards me with food. He gave me the wonderful news that it was right around the corner! Then he told me that Jay and two other guys had already gone up. I was so PISSED! I took off my shoes and stood in the creek for about 30 minutes thinking angry thoughts. And then I started getting worried that something bad would happen to him and how I was the worst wife ever for thinking bad thoughts about him while he lay dying of dehydration or low blood sugar. I choked down some lunch, laced my shoes back up (fresh socks though--good thinking!) and went to refill my water. At the water faucet we met a woman looking for gatorade powder for her husband. Apparently he was running out of steam. Poor guy, right? Not really. This dude had CARRIED a 215 pound man out of the canyon the day before. This other hiker was startled by a rattlesnake and broke his leg falling into a ravine during their rim-to-rim hike. So this guy helped carry this hiker out and then came out on a pleasure hike with his family the next day. We gave him some powder and headed out. Yeah, he totally blew past me not long after that. Humiliating.

After we left Indian Gardens, we noticed that there was a forest fire up on the rim. Pretty cool, except the smoke started filling up the canyon! As if I wasn't having enough trouble breathing. The distance from Indian Gardens to the Rim is about 4 miles. That doesn't sound so bad, right? It is. You stand there looking up thinking there is no possible way you are getting up these walls. They look so sheer that you wonder how there could be a trail that will get you up there with even a shred of safety.

We plodded along, with me leading Jimbo, Jake, Heidi, Andy, Vujo and Kent. I was not leading because I was fast--I was leading because I was the slowest. But no one complained or tried to hurry things along. We were just getting it done. I was having a really hard time breathing--that elevation just kills me. We were going from about 2,500 feet to around 7,000. After a while I fell back to the end of the line. Vujo and Kent, who I will be forever grateful to, stuck behind me the entire way. They are both really strong hikers and certainly could've gone much, much faster but somehow they knew that I needed them behind me. I appreciated that. If I was left on my own at the back, I would've just kept falling further and further behind. With them there, I knew I could rest but it gave me the kick I needed to get going again.

We finally got to the Mile and a Half Resthouse (that is really the name--creative, right?) which is, you guessed it, a mile and a half from the top. I got cell service and texted Jay. First I asked if he was alive and then I told him I was furious with him for ditching not just me, but the entire group. Funny thing is that once I knew he was okay my anger dissipated quite a bit. I was still irritated but had a certain amount of respect for how quickly he was able to get down and back out again. So here we are, a mere mile and a half from the top. This is the LONGEST mile and a half on the planet! There is one point in the trail where it looks like the trail just dead-ends right into a cliff wall. I was really dragging at this point and just kept my head down and plodded away. It started getting dark so we put on our headlamps. It was kind of cool to look behind us and see this trail of headlamps trudging up the trail behind us. As we climbed the trail started to have steeper drop offs and I noticed that Jake turned around with almost every step to make sure I didn't slip or lose my footing. I am so grateful to have hiked with these great people! We finally got to the final stretch and I remember silently cursing in my head and then suddenly, Jay is standing right there! How about that? It was a little anticlimactic coming up in the dark because you can't really look at where you've been but it was still wonderful to be done!

We got showers and a hot meal. Then we all crawled into bed and didn't move again until morning. No campground dance party could've kept me awake. I didn't even brush my teeth and I ALWAYS brush my teeth before bed! It just seemed like too much work.

The next morning was pretty hilarious. We were a sorry bunch. Most of us were stumbling around, either because of muscles or blisters. I have never been that sore in my life! My knees kept locking up on me and I would almost fall over. We spent the day riding the shuttle bus along the rim and taking pictures of where we had been. I finally came to the realization that I am not a hiker. At least not this kind of hiker. I am too slow, and I've always been that way, even when I was in much better shape. I never quit but I am so slow you might not be able to tell! :) I do love these trips though for the fellowship and the scenery. So from now on, I will go on the trips but while the rest of the group kills themselves on a trail, I will do a tasteful hike and enjoy myself. I can now say that I've done this hike and I will never need to do it again.

I will post pics in another posting. Oh, BTW: I popped the blister and it was glorious! :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

a blistering topic

Can anyone give me information on how to deal with blisters? I have several that haven't popped yet and I'm not sure if I should poke a hole in them or just let them be. They are kind of grossing me out, actually, and I'd like to pop them but won't if that is the wrong way to go. Email me or comment if you know what I should do!

I think I might lose a toenail. But I won't be doing anything about that.