Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weekend in Vermont

A few weekends ago we took a trip to Vermont with a bunch of our friends. After Irene hit we were afraid we might not be able to go due to flooding and washed out roads. But even after several road closures and more than a few detours we all made it to our cabin. We got there late friday night and had to be up early the next day for the race.

The whole reason for going on the trip was for people to run a race. Most did the 5k while 3 did the half marathon. The rest of us that did not run were on babysitting duty.

Mike ran his first 5K since we have been married. He didn't run at all to train but counted his biweekly basketball nights as his training. He actually did really well. You can kind of see him running in across the finish line at 26 minutes and 46 seconds. Not to shabby for no training.
He even got a nice little medal. Note to self: find a race that will give me a metal for finishing. I actually have been running a lot lately. I have been doing interval training on the treadmill. I am getting a lot faster and it is fun to see the progress. The only problem is my shin splints. I am learning to power through the pain, but some days I get off the treadmill and can barely walk. Even after I stretch I still limp a little. I really hate feeling limited.... blah.
Back to Vermont. Here are the runners. Ben, Camille and Tim were our 1/2 marathon runners. They all came in within 5 minutes of each other. It was a lot of fun to cheer everyone on and to be outside on a seriously beautiful fall saturday.

After the race the runners needed a little nourishment. We asked a local were a good place to eat was and they directed us to this great little diner. The food was delicious we shared onion rings, onion strings, mozzarella sticks and had some of the biggest burgers ever.
The only sad part was our group was to big to sit at the same table so half the group sat at one table...
and the other across the isle way...
After lunch the men were anxious to get back to the house to watch some college football and the women were anxious to hit the outlet stores in town. They had some fantastic stores but after some very costly trips to J. Crew and Ann Taylor we had to head home before we spent our husbands whole paycheck. It was a lot of fun to go shopping with the girls and get some awesome deals!

We divided three meals that we knew we would eat at the house up and assigned different couples to be in charge of them. We shared the responsibility of Saturday's dinner with the Johnsons and Elmores. We decided to do a crowd favorite, Cafe Rio Chicken/Pork salad with black beans, cilantro lime ranch dressing and rice. It was soooo delicious!! And we made the perfect amount.

After eating our dinner on the deck and watching the sunset we headed up to the game room and all crowded around the TV to watch the BYU vs Texas game. It was so much fun hanging out, playing ping-pong, chatting and cheering on BYU.
The ladies took a little break during half time and took a dip in the hot tub. It was quite the bonding experience but we ended up missing most of the second half of the game.
After staying up late playing games and visiting we got to sleep in the next morning. Well those of us without children got to sleep in. Some of us were even lucky enough to be feed breakfast in bed. Yes, that is my husband feeding Ben bacon in bed... strange.
After a delicious breakfast we went over the a ski resort called Stratton Mountain. It was a cute place but kind of deserted for a weekend.

We took a Gondola ride to the top of the ski slope which was really cool. Unfortunately it was a little foggy so the pictures don't do the breathtaking view justice.

A few of us went on a little hike (about a mile there and another mile back.) The trail I believe is apart of the Appellation trial and lead to a really cool fire look out tower. It was a little scary though when you climbed to the top and the wind would blow and you could feel the tower shake.. very scary. The view from the top made the whole hike worth it, even if I was against it at the beginning (I was not dressed properly for hiking.)

After the hike we went back to the house for a seriously amazing "farewell" lunch. It was kind of bittersweet to leave such a fun trip... but I have a feeling we'll be going back in the future.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back to School.

School started about three weeks ago and I have been trying to catch my breathe ever since. We definitely got off to a rocky start. We {the teachers} started two days after hurricane Irene hit. The campus I work at had NO electricity and NO running water. It was pretty hard setting up and feeling organized when we couldn't do a lot (no copier, no lamination, no computer, no printer, no using the bathroom at work.) We finally had to start taking work home with us, which is no fun.

But all the frustration of setting a classroom up in the dark went away when I met my class. I LOVE them. You would too. I wish I could put a picture up to show how cute they are, but I'm not allowed :( I have made some good friends this year. One little boy told his mom I was his favorite teacher! YAY! He is so adorable. He is a well mannered, tiny little boy who reminds me of Stewart Little. When we asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said... "Strong." Precious.

Another of my new friends LOVES the Disney Princesses. In fact at recess the first week of school she requested I call her "Queen Sleeping Beauty" and she called me Cinderella (who she thinks I look like.) I play with her a lot when I can since she is a little shy. Today at lunch they were talking about "best friends." I told the table of girls that they could have a lot of best friends. One of the girls asked "but who is your first best friend." I said I have lots of BF and I like them all the same. Then my little friend says "Like me, I'm one of your best friends, right?" How precious! I love my job!

Did I mention we have 7 kids in our class this year? And 2 teacher +1 shadow? Those are pretty good ratios. It makes for fun, easy days. I still leave exhausted. Trust me. But I haven't left feeling stressed or unhappy yet. Which is a good sign.

My favorite time of the day, although I am tired and just want to sit down, is when I get to see these kids. I babysit these guys (since April) after school three afternoons a week from 3:30 to 7:15. I can't think of a better babysitting job. They are so well mannered and fun to be with. I love the twin girls, who are 4 (the same age as the kids at school.) But these girls I get to hug and kiss and love on when I tuck them in at night. I really do love them, all four of them. The oldest boy {9} is a huge sports guy and I often find myself pitching tennis balls or throwing a football with him. The second oldest boy {7} has the largest imagination I have ever seen. I wish I could be so imaginative again. I have fun with these guys. And I can't imagine my afternoons without them. They make me smile... and really want twin girls :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I haven't ever written down "my" 9/11 story. I've always felt like it was too similar to many other and insignificant compared to those who where in lower Manhattan that day. As I have thought about it more I decided I needed to record it. Because I do remember, like so many others, where I was on that day the world stood still and just watched. My children will want to know what I remember from the day they will only hear about. It is important to record because even though I wasn't there this single act changed our country and me forever.

It wasn't until the beginning of 4th period (10:00 am EST) that I finally heard the news about the twin towers. I was walking into my health class when a friend of mine came into the room and said "We're going to get bombed. I just know it!" I had no idea what she was talking about till I looked up at the TV that was on and saw the horrific picture. Smoke, fire, one tower missing. I was confused. what happen? Where was this? I didn't even know what the twin towers were. I had seen them many times but didn't know what they were called. I had never been to NYC at that point but my heart already ached for the piece of the skyline that was missing and all those whose lives had been lost or changed.

As the minutes went on other student began to fill me in on the news. It was a plane that had been flown into the towers. A United airplane. They weren't sure where the flight originated from but my thoughts immediately jumped to the safety of my Uncle Tom. He was a pilot for United. I didn't have a cell phone back then. But I wanted to run to the office and call my mom to find out if he was ok. Logical thinking would have told me that with hundreds of pilot working for United that he was probably ok. But I was not thinking logically, there was no logic in this. Who would hijack a plane of innocent people? People with children, spouses, mothers, fathers. And then fly that plane into a building full of more innocent people? There is no logic in that.

Then I saw the second tower fall. My heart ached. So many lives lost. I thought of the families of those people. Empty seats at the dinner table, children whose father/mother would not be there to tuck them in at night. Firefighters, police men and port authority workers who were there to help, gone. So heart breaking. My mind jumped to the quote by President Roosevelt after Pear Harbor "A day that will live in infamy." This was the pearl harbor of my generation. This was our call to rise to the challenge and make our nation whole again.

The rest of the school day was spent with the teachers in front of the TV. Reports came in about flight 93, and the pentagon. The pieces of the puzzle were being sorted. We were attacked. By a group of terrorist. They hijacked planes. One brave group of people saved the nations capital a major lose and their plane lay burning in a field in PA. That flight flew over Ohio. If you look at the route it took, if flew right over my hometown.

When I got home my mom was waiting for me at the bus stop. We hugged and cried a little. It was good to be with family at a time like that. She confirmed the safety of my uncle and we walked home. It was my brother Bryant's 12th birthday. As you can imagine none of us felt like celebrating. We all just sat and watched. My younger sister asked lots of questions, how do you explain something like that to a 5 year old? We ordered pizza and ate in the living room. No one talked much. We just sat and watched. At 10:30 at night we finally sang to my brother and he got his birthday gifts. I don't think we even took the traditional family picture around the cake. Then we had family prayer, a very long family prayer. We prayer hard for those who were suffering and thanked Heavenly Father for our safety and for the blessing of living in the Promise Land. A country that was founded on the motto "In God We Trust." For if we put our faith in him, he will guide us and protect us.

In the coming days, weeks and months we saw something our nation hadn't done in years. We came together. Suddenly it didn't matter what political party you belonged too and what religious group you were affiliated with. You were an American and we were proud to be.

10 years later I live in the NYC metro area. I go to the city frequently and see the new skyline. The one without the twin towers, but with the new freedom tower in it's place. It stands as a symbol of hope, rebuilding, healing and pride.

10 years ago I knew no one that was directly affected by 9/11. Now I know several people who were in the city that day. Some running for there lives in lower Manhattan. I know people who lost close friends and coworkers. I know the city. I recognize street signs and buildings when I see the footage from that day. It's a little more personal now.

Today I watched several specials on 9/11. As my heart broke and my spirit sobbed I felt something else too. I felt pride. Look at how our country pulled together. Look at all those brave people who rushed to the aid of strangers. Look at the people who came from all over the country to clean up debri. Look at those Americans standing together. Since then we have cleaned up, rebuilt and found those responsible for the tragic act.

I am so grateful to live in the USA. Grateful to have the gospel in my life that brings peace to my soul in times of crisis and unsurity. Grateful to have the knowledge of the plan of salvation. To know that the families that were torn apart that day can be together again through Heavenly Fathers plan. Grateful to be an American.

"Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust.
"And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Day in Ohio

I'm not sure how I did it but I convinced Mike to drive all the way to OHIO for Labor day weekend this year. We left at 3:30 on Friday afternoon and got there at 1:15am! Traffic was HORRIBLE getting out of town. It took up about 3.5 hours to get to the Del Water Gap and it usually only takes us 1.5 hour to get there. After that it was 6.5 hours or easy driving. I had Mike listen to the book "Maze Runner" on the way there so it kept him alert the whole way there.

Saturday Morning we got up and went to the Gym with my dad. With his sports medicine and nutrition background he is a great person to have lead your work out. It was seriously one of the highlights of our weekend. He is a stud!

Later that day my Aunt Becky stopped by, which was nice since she lives in Columbus (2 hours away.) It was good to see her even if it was only for a little while. We of course had the OSU game on, even though it wasn't very much of a game. I hope we can keep our head above water this year and stay in the top 25. It will be pretty tough though with all the drama that has unfolded over the past year.

That evening we drove about 2 hours north to the Johnson Farm Chapel where we attended the wedding reception. The reception was for Jenna and Robbie who were absolutely adorable together, but I didn't get a picture of the happy couple. I did however get a picture of her beautiful sisters and one of my dearest friends, Sarah! It had been far to long since I had seen my former maid of honor and roommate. It was wonderful to catch up and I really hope to see her soon since she only lives about 5 hours away!

My beautiful sister was ecstatic to go to the reception since her boyfriend is the brother of Sarah and Jenna (what a small world huh?)

Aren't my sisters beautiful?

Sunday we of course went to church in the morning. It was actually my second fast Sunday there in a row since I was there just a few weeks ago. We had a lovely Sunday lunch together (this time we missed Bryant since he is now out at BYU for the school year.) I even got to take a short Sunday nap, which was BEAUTIFUL!!

That evening my dad did his back to school fathers blessings. I haven't had one since I was married. I am going back to school though and I am in serious need of guidance, direction and comfort. So I got a blessing too! It was pretty special since my dad, grandpa and husband all stood together to give me my blessing. The words spoken were also very special. What a huge blessing it is to have the power of the priesthood here on earth. To be able to have the men I love speak as a mouth piece of the Lord and tell me the things he would have me know. Amazing. It is a memory I know I will NEVER forget. It was the highlight of my trip and made all the driving worth it. I am a truly blessed women.

That evening we had a few family friends over for treats and games. My mom and I's friend Sheryl was there. She helped so much with my wedding and threw me a beautiful bridal shower. I never gave here anything to show her how much I appreciated her, so three years later I finally gave her little gift. That was also one of the highlights of my trip. There were so many people who helped so much with my wedding and in my frazzled bridal state I don't think I ever thanked them properly so starting with Sheryl I am trying to show my appreciation.

Monday morning we just visited with my family until 11:30 when it was time to make the journey back. It was another horrible drive. It was pouring rain the whole way which made it really hard to see. We only had a little traffic but because of the rain it took us another 9.5 hours to get home. LAME. Don't worry Mike had book # 2 (The Scorch Trials) to listen to on the way home.
At any rate even with all the time in the car traveling for only a few short days with my family IT WAS WORTH IT. I can never get enough family time and the older I get it still doesn't get any easier to say goodbye. Like I said I am a blesses women.