Sunday, July 31, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig...

This past week I went back to good ol' Southern California to spend some time with my mom, grandma, and nephew. I also checked on my house there to see how it is doing and we renewed the lease with the tenants for another year. That is a load off my mind.

I must say, that this was probably the best trip back to CA of the 3 I've taken since getting married. Every day had something fun, I wasn't overbooked, and I got to see my cute nephew 5 out of the 7 days. He even accompanied my mom to pick me up and drop me off at the airport.

On one of the days I got to spend several hours with my cousin, Laura, who was my maid of honor and who recently moved back from San Diego. We enjoyed a pedicure, along with her daughter, C., who was my flower girl. Then we went to In n Out burger and loaded up on food to take back to my mom's house. The 3 of us, my mom, and X. sat around the dining room table and talked and ate and ate and talked. OK, X. played with his remote control forklift and trucks, but the girls talked! My brother joined us a little while later with my little niece, and we talked for about 2 more hours while the kids played in the family room. It was a lot of fun.

X. and I also drove out to visit and have lunch with my grandma, who is doing great a month after my uncle was killed in that horrible car accident. We exchanged pictures to look at and enjoyed some yummy turkey and avocado sandwiches at a nearby restaurant.
My Uncle Howard at age 20, and my dad at age 16 getting ready for Howard's wedding.

X. behaved great, despite being a little contrary when it came to taking pictures with his great-grandma. He is, after all, only 3 years old. But by the time we got ready to go he was very accommodating and we got some great pictures of them together. He fell asleep on the drive back to my mom's house, but not before commenting that he thought great grandma "was a very nice lady."

My favorite nephew and his great-grandma. These are priceless!

Thursday was Disneyland with my friend, Tracey. We chose a hot, crowded day, but it was the only one she could spare from work that week. Being former annual passholders, the crowds didn't hinder us too much and we got a lot accomplished, including going on the new Star Tours after a 50 minute wait. I've never been a big fan of Star Tours because it makes me nice and motion sick (not as bad as the Teacups--or, as I call them...the Vomit Cups--but close!) I'm glad that I went on it though, because they really have spiffed up the graphics you see during the ride.
We chose a beautiful, sunny day to go to Disneyland!

I took a video of some great musicians in one of the alleyways of New Orleans Square, my favorite section of the Magic Kingdom. I also bought Eric a new sweatshirt to replace the one I accidentally shrank. Watch as the people dance through the middle of their performance. It's pretty funny...

Disneyland and the resulting tiredness was a culmination of a great week full of fun and family. I feel very blessed that Eric has assured me that I can go back and visit my family anytime I want. And, although I do not want to exhaust his generosity (or our finances,) it is nice to know the offer is there!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I have the best Home Teachers...

Last night, while Eric was on his last night of graveyard shift, I was invited to Family Home Evening at my Home Teachers' house. Steve and Diane Pond are the best Home Teachers I could ask for, and I know that it was an inspired decision to match us up.

Bro Pond did a great lesson on being cheerful, even in the midst of the depressing things around us in the world, from an article in a recent Ensign.

I just feel very blessed to have these two wonderful people in my life, and they have added to easing the transition of moving to Washington. And the icing on the cake is that they live just 1 block away.

Even with their own 7 seven children, many grandchildren, and other responsibilities, they are diligent Home Teachers who make me feel loved and looked after. They're awesome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sight or Sound...

I had an interesting experience this morning. After having a lingering ear infection for about 3 months, my doctor wanted me to go for a hearing test.

I sat in a little sound-proof room (supposedly sound-proof, although I could hear the distant chatter in another office) and, wearing headphones, said "OK" every time I heard a series of low-volume beeps at different frequencies. First in the right ear, then in the left--the infection has been on the left side.

After the beeps, the audiologist had me repeat back a list of words that would come through first on the right side, then the left. The volume decreased as she spoke until I could barely guess what she was saying.

The results were that my hearing is fine, better on the right than the left, but that may have nothing to do with the ear infection, which was in the Eustachian tube and was causing pressure and that feeling like you just got off an airplane.

My relief was more than I expected and it made me really grateful. Sound is so important, and, if I had to give up either sight or sound, which would I give up? I think I'd rather give up sight. Those days when my left ear was all plugged up, I felt partially cut off from the world.

Hopefully I will never have to completely give up either sense, but it did get me thinking. What would you give up?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

3 MONTHS Since My Last Post? Shame on Me...

I cannot believe how much time has passed since my last blog! My only excuse is...nope, I've got nothin'. There is no excuse.

Still, a lot has happened in these last 3 months.

In April, shortly after my last post, Eric and I took a little vacation down to Salem, Oregon. We visited Willamette University, his alma mater and football stomping grounds. What a beautiful campus! The same care that I remember going into the campus at BYU, just a lot smaller.
We also saw a wonderful production of WICKED. My 4th time to see it, Eric's 1st, and he loved it. The theater was beautiful, with an incredible green and white basket weave design inside. They also added to the fun by having green apple flavored drinks in the lobby during intermission. Eric got a green apple smoothie that was to die for!
In May I took a trip to California. No Disneyland adventure this time, but I did have a lot of quality time with my nephew and the trip, as a whole, was a lot less stressful. My first return to CA back in January was spent wrestling with the unemployment office (that has all been sorted out, thank goodness,) and tenants at my CA house over 2 bounced checks (also straightened out.) We also had a little family get together, which was great, because I hadn't seen my aunts and uncles and my cousin, Laura, who was my maid of honor, since my wedding last August.

I digress for a moment to point out that in less than a month, Eric and I will be celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary. Isn't that amazing? And, if possible, I love him more now than I did then...*sigh* (happy sigh)

In June we had another CA trip planned with the 2 of us. The purpose was to attend the church wedding of my cousin, Robby, who is in the Air Force and was married 3 years ago in a small civil ceremony. The plan was to make it a big vacation...hotel, rental car, Disneyland, and any other fun that we could pack into 5 days. Unfortunately, life had other plans...

Our white kitty, Ramius, who is only 2 years old, had a dramatic reaction to a vaccine and we ended up taking him to the emergency vet the week before our CA trip. It was a 4 hour, 80-mile round trip odyssey that started at 10pm and ended up costing $300...all for a quick consultation and some under the skin fluids.
The very next day, as we were recovering from a horrible night's sleep, the washing machine died. More $$$.

The following Monday, Eric sprained a ligament in his leg and was in a lot of pain. By Wednesday (we were supposed to leave Thursday, June 9) we still planned to go, but it was not to be. Thursday morning we got up and Eric was in such pain that he just didn't think he could go. I called the airline and cancelled his reservation, and cancelled with the car rental and hotel. I thought, OK, I'll go alone and just stay at my mom's house like in the past.

The kicker came when I called my grandma to change our plans for a visit while I was down there. My dad's wife answered and alerted me of the tragic dad's older brother had been killed in a horrible head-on collision the day before.

At that point I just felt all the wind go out of me. I didn't want to get on a plane. I didn't want to leave my husband. I didn't want to go through all of that. My sweet grandma had lost her remaining child. I felt so bad, but I also knew that she would need her time to grieve before wanting any company. Which led me to plan my upcoming trip next week.

Eric had taken vacation time for our CA trip and still wanted to use it, so we had to think of other things to do locally that were fun and interesting during those 12 days he had free. One of the things we did was go and visit Mount St. Helens. There are several visitor centers along the highway, but the closest one has a fantastic view only 5 miles from the mountain. You feel like you're looking right into it!
My mom came and visited last week and was here for the 4th of July, the biggest event in town. She and I went to the local outlet mall and raided the Coach store, Eddie Bauer, and the Ralph Lauren outlet where she found some beautiful bedding for when she has her bedroom redone. We also took her to Mount St. Helens, which she loved, and enjoyed the 3 days of holiday festivities, all of which take place right down the street at Lake Sacajewa, culminating in a 20 minute firework show the night of the 4th. Although, backyard fireworks are legal here, so the rockets red blare went on until nearly midnight!

See? Busy?

Other than that, life is nice and quiet. I was called to be a teacher in Relief Society at church. My first lesson is on Sunday...Lesson 35 on Obedience. I'm an over-planner, so I'm sure I have more material than I need--I finished prepping yesterday morning--but better to have too much than not enough. I'm just amazed at the church much information! The last time I was a Relief Society teacher, the website didn't even exist (the internet barely existed!)

This Saturday I'm also hosting my 2nd "Ladies Movie/Karaoke Night." The first one, 2 months ago, was a rollicking success, with 12 ladies total from church enjoying a viewing of Tangled on blu-ray and a couple of hours of karaoke using our little homemade setup, plus lots of yummy munchies and a chance to relax and laugh together. We had a great time. This Saturday we're watching Emma, and it looks to be another fun night.

I'm also trying to finish the book for my book club (of which I'm now the leader!) The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton. A complicated story, but worth the time and effort.

Happy Summer to all! I'll try and do better about staying updated!