Sunday, June 27, 2010

World Traveler

Here's the story:

When I was a sophomore at Brigham Young University, I decided that I was going to volunteer to teach English in China for a semester. I applied and got my assignment. I bought some cassettes to teach myself a little Chinese, got my passport, and prepared to leave in early January.

Chad was coming home from a mission for our church (in Santiago, Chile) in late December. Despite two years of dating prior to his mission and being totally crazy about each other, our relationship was very much up in the air as I prepared to go. I had been dating other guys (maybe dating isn't even the right word - "hanging out with" is more like it) and neither of us could really say what things would be like between us after two years of not seeing each other.

I would be leaving days after Chad came home. My decision to go was a little bit of a pulling away from the relationship. I knew it and he knew it, and after all he had put up with from me already, I knew that my chance with him might be past when I came back.

In November, I was thinking it over and started to have some strange feelings.

Feelings that, although I hadn't seen him for two years and felt a little anti-men at the time, I really really needed to stick around instead of going to China.

Basically, I felt strongly that I was going to marry Chad.

I prayed and I canceled China.

Chad came home December 28th. We got engaged February 2nd, and married April 26th. It was fast, and a little scary at times, and I have to admit that if I had only made the decision with my head, I don't know what I would have done.

It was the best decision I have ever made.

My passport expires this year and it has never been used.

I love my life and the road that I have chosen,

But sometimes I feel a little like a country bumpkin

A 29 year old who already has three kids but no stamps on her passport.


I have never in my life left the country, even though I grew up near the Mexican border in a time when it was very easy to cross.

So when I heard that the house we were renting was a mile away from the Canadian border, I said,
"I'm crossing! I am GOING to Canada! I don't care if I go alone, I am going!"

And then amidst all the list making and packing for everyone and myself, I left approximately three minutes for finding my passport, and of course it wasn't in our files where it should be (and really, where should an unused passport be anyway?). So I left without it.

I was undeterred.

"I will hike into the woods and across the border if I have to!" I told everyone. My brother-in-law Bill, who served a mission in Canada, felt the same about getting across, even if it was illegally.

When we got to Idaho, our turnoff for Fliegerhaven was right before the sign that said, "One mile to Canada" but there was a river and mountains between us and the border. Gulp.

After a couple of days of looking at maps and seeing Border Patrol driving around, I pouted to Chad that it just wasn't going to happen.

I had given up, and then on our last evening Bill called to Chad and I and asked if we wanted to go check out the border. We hopped in the car, leaving the kids with the grandparents, and took off. The plan was to see if there was some sort of turn-off close to the border where we could at least get a picture with a "Welcome to Canada" sign.

There were several duty-free stores, a US Customs office, and a post office before the Canadian border inspection, so we parked the car and started walking in the direction of the border, very slowly, waiting to see how far we could get without getting yelled at.

With no one really even eye-balling us, we started strolling along the empty street when we noticed, right in front of us, the US/Canada boundary marker.

Right there, free from any border patrol officers, and yards away from inspection. Was that really the country line?

Sure enough, we glanced to our right, up the mountains, and the boundary was marked all the way up.

I ran over the Canadian side laughing, raising the roof, and had Chad snap my picture like the country bumpkin that I really am, hair undone and not a stitch of make-up on. Then my sweetie crossed over to Canada with me.

I fully realize that Canada isn't exotic or exciting, but Canada plus Chad for all eternity? Wooeeeeeee, baby!

Copper Falls and Spruce Lake

Hiking with kids can be a lot of fun, but it always worries me a little. Is the trail going to be easy enough? Short enough? Am I going to be carrying a 22 month old while prodding my 4 year old the whole way?

Thankfully, the hike to Copper Falls, which was only a couple of miles away from Fliegerhaven, was the perfect family hike. Short, easy enough for everyone but Ollie, with a huge reward. This picture doesn't even do the waterfall justice. It is still early summer in this area, with snow still melting in places and lots of recent rain, so the water was gushing over the cliff.

After Copper Falls, we decided to hop back in our cars and follow a road up the mountain to Spruce Lake,which is at about 5,500 ft. It was only about 8 miles away, but it was all up up up, on a winding road, often with a huge drop-off on one side (I was remembering many Jeppson family trips with Mom telling Dad to slow down). After about half an hour, we knew we had to be getting close to the lake, and all the sudden we started to see snow on the side of the road. It got thicker and thicker until the point were we had to stop completely.

We didn't get to see the lake, but a snowball fight in the middle of June made the drive worth it.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Our last four days were spent in a vacation home in Northern Idaho with Chad's parents and his brother Bill with his wife Cathy and kids Hailey and Cole.

This was wilderness with a touch of luxury.

Listening to the Moyie River rush by as you fall asleep.
Firepits and s'mores.
Blue skies and rainstorms.....

but with

beds for everyone, hot showers, refrigeration, not to mention....

satellite TV in all the bedrooms
a hot-tub (that got used a lot)
and a media room.

The only roughing it that took place was 9 people sharing the upstairs bathroom.

I can highly recommend Fliegerhaven as a vacation home. The owners were very kind and accommodating, and the price was excellent compared to other homes that we looked at. Click here if you would like to know more about it.

Picture of the Day

Colin took this picture of a bee taking off at the garden the day we left for Spokane. He was pretty proud of it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Picture of the Day

Yes, this is what will motivate me to buy from you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Keepin' It Real Wednesday - Picture of the Day

Chad has the kids of the house

I decide to have a leisurely lunch in the peace and quiet of the empty house

No kids begging for forbidden soda

Tacos with guacamole

Breaking my own rules by eating in the living room

Watching "Say Yes to The Dress"

Soda explosion all over the couch.

Shhhh, don't tell Chad.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Picture of the Day

Gray or Purple?

Chad says purple and refuses to wear it.

What do you think?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Picture of the Day

One of the best things about visiting my in-laws in Spokane?

The backyard. The kids could stay out there all day.

I will be gone most of the week to a cabin in northern Idaho, but check back everyday for the picture of the day. Have a good week!

Friday, June 11, 2010

School's Out!

I took this picture to mark the final school pick-up of the year....

And it was shortly followed by

Tears from Colin

All day long

Tears about:
Having a sore throat

Not having Lee Laoshi as a teacher next year

Missing school

Missing out on Discovery Place because he was at school

Everyone at school being mean to him

Mom and Dad being the meanest people in the whole wide world

Wii remotes being low on batteries

Finding out that we went to lunch with Daddy

Stir-fry for dinner with chicken instead of shrimp

I am not kidding you, he cried about every single one of those things, plus more.

He was just having the worst day in the world. Not enough sleep, lots of sugar today, last-day stress...I don't know.

It would have been a lot more frustrating if he hadn't brought home a report card that made me so proud I cried.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Discovery Place

Gabe finished reading lesson number 75, so it was date time again. He chose to go to Discovery Place, and let Ollie tag along with us.

We haven't been in a long time (how did Gabe even remember it? he was so young!), and they are renovating the whole museum, so it was interesting to see what changes have taken place. The kids zone downstairs, which has all been re-done, was still the highlight of the day for both the boys. The beloved water area is still there.

Gabe and I had a good time building a city in another section upstairs.

Since Chad works near Discovery Place, we took a lunch break and met him for lunch at The Fox and The Hound. YUM!

It was so nice to see him in the middle of the day. The boys got a kick out of it.

Great day!

Gabe is around number 83 - when he hits 100, he is done and gets to have a party!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Speaking of Baseball

A pick-up game formed in my sitting room/dining room this evening after dinner
I kept thinking that I should be an adult and break things up, but hey, the oldest one in the family was the pitcher, and he was getting belly laughs from all the boys, so I just went with it.

Four boys playing baseball inside might not seem like a very holy activity for the Sabbath,

But I am tellin' you, those scrumptious boys laughing together, sharing, loving each other,

It was heaven on earth.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Last Baseball Game of the Season

I'm not the biggest baseball fan, as I have said before. My boy, however, really is. So seeing the season come to an end is a little sad for me. Mostly because I didn't get to go to as many games as I wanted to. They were often at night, so I would stay home with Gabe and Oliver to put them to bed, while Chad took Colin. I know that this was the practical thing to do, and there is no way I will make it to all of my kids' games over the years, but I feel like I really missed out.

All of the other parents on the team have been commenting to us about how much determination and hustle Colin shows. He is very young and small, and it was 2 years since he played on a baseball team (and so long ago that it was T-ball). He had a lot to learn this season, and he soaked it up like a sponge. Colin has always tried to master anything he is interested in, and you could see that in his batting, throwing, and concentration. I'm proud of him!

(so is Ollie)

Let me tell you though, it was so stinkin' hot this morning. I had sweat marks on my t-shirt by 10 am.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Feelin' Funky

My last guests left 3 days ago.

School ends in a week.

We leave for Spokane in 2 weeks.

No YCMA because of a snotty-nosed little boy.

Things just aren't flowing (well besides the nose).

I am not PRODUCTIVE enough to even come up with a post right now,
here are some previously unpublished pictures that I like.

I think it is funny how I am folding my arms like a good little primary kid in this picture, but I have to say that the feeling at the Lincoln Memorial was so reverent for me. Even with all the crowds and picture taking, it was just awesome.

A walk on Mother's Day.

Peonies from Sabina last month. Not only gorgeous, but so wonderful smelling.

My shoes, Colin's hat.

They do love each other. Their stripes even match up.