Friday, February 19, 2010

Hasta La Vista Baby!

It's that time again...We are heading off to where I won't be needing this card

but I'll be using this one twice

I will also need this

And will likely wear this at least once
Leaving San Francisco tonight and eventually arriving in Miami

Ten good friends will board the Carnival Liberty
(A few others were sooo close to joining us. They will be missed!)

Cruising to the privately owned island of Half Moon Cay Bahamas

Monday will be a day at sea followed by Scuba diving and shopping in lovely St Thomas

Next stop San Juan Puerto Rico for a little hiking, zip lining, and rapelling
Then moving on to turks and Caicos where we will dive again and also try our hand at this

Next up is a day of relaxation on the ship before arriving back in Florida for a day of sightseeing in Ft Lauderdale. I would just like to sleep a little bit before all the fun begins!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Skiing, You Make Me Smile

I can't explain it. I know it's crazy. I certainly didn't expect it to effect me like it has. There are tons of reasons why, but really, it's not about just one of them. It's the whole of it that I love. And there it is. I've said it. I am totally in love. I keep surprising myself with the extent of it. I can't get enough.

I got everything organized late Sunday night, and I got out of bed way earlier than normal Monday morning. My car was filled with music and the voices of my sons and I singing to our favorite songs. We danced on our way back to the car from the rental shop. None of us could stop smiling. Garrett went to a snow boarding class and was grinning from ear to ear like it was Christmas morning by the time he was done. Drew kept the smile on his face even after spinning around in a complete 360 and then rolling several times, loosing a ski in the process. My smile was huge when all the boys paired up with friends I and was free to explore on my own. It was even bigger when I got over my fear of going down some of the steeper runs. I love talking on the way up the lift. I don't know how that ride can feel so long, and sometimes still not be long enough. A grin would spread across my face when over the buzz of the lift I would hear someone below let out a whoop of joy. I loved speeding through some of the sections that were a little more flat as the wind blew past me, making any excess fabric flap in the breeze. I love the peaceful feeling of gliding down a hill without another soul in sight, thinking just maybe, I was the only one to take that exact path today. I loved getting things right a second time around. If anything tripped me up, took my breath away, or made me really nervous, I would head right back and do it agian. The second time around always went a lot more smoothly and I love the accomplishment of tackling something scary or hard. I love the thrill of just barely making the last ride up the lift for the day. I love the pink on my cheeks and nose that will turn a golden brown tomorrow or the next day, left from the sun that shone down on us all day. I love the slight twinge of soreness I feel in my shoulders and arms that says I used them a little more than usual today. I smiled the whole drive home as my boys shared their stories with eachother of their successes and total wipe outs. I laughed so hard when I learned what a "yard sale" was and the way the boys tried to out do eachother with tales of their biggest crashes of the day. I love that I can spend the whole day being so active, but not be too worn out for a run when I get home. I am smiling still.

A favorite song of mine describes my love of skiing so perfectly.

You make me smile like the sun
Fall out of bed
Sing like a bird
Dizzy in my head
Spin like a record
Crazy on a Sunday night
You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold
Buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Oh you make me smile

I love skiing.

I hear the first step in an addicts recovery process is just admitting the behavior. I am recognizing it, but I have no intention of taking the recovery process any further than that. I am just trying to figure out how soon I can go again.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Bunnies

I've been missing out, and I had no idea! I didn't grow up in a snow skiing family. I learned to water ski when I was 7, but my only snow skiing experience was when I was in 6th grade. I rode up on a bus to Tahoe with a bunch of my friends from school. My friend Crystal gave me a quick lesson on the snow plow in her living room the night before we left. That was the extent of my training. Once we arrived my friends jumped on the lift with me, telling me when we got to the top,"Okay now just ski down! Have fun!!" And off they went. I haven't back been since.

Jeff grew up skiing in Idaho and was on the ski patrol in Jackson Hole Wyoming for a few years. He has only been twice since we've been married. Life has just been a bit busy. He has been wanting to get the whole family into it for as long as I can remember. In fact when he was in law school he came home from an early morning donut run with 3 sets of skis he found at a yard sale!! They're still unused in the attic.

This year with all of the kids getting older it seems much more do able. After our failed attempt a few weeks ago and the arrival of my new coat last week, I was chomping at the bit to finally give it a try. Last Saturday Jeff and I left the kids at home and headed up to Sierra Summit.
We had to stop to put chains on the car, but still made it up in time to get in a full day of skiing! We skipped the bunny hill and the tow rope and went straight up to the top of the easiest run. I think this may have been the first time Jeff has ever seen me nervous. He was laughing seeing me feel so vulnerable and was amazed that I was listening and trying to do everything he said. Aslo a first, at least as far as he remembers.

By 11 am it started to snow and by the end of the day it was really coming down. I could not have cared less. I was having so much fun! Jeff would ride the lift up with me, and then do some harder runs and meet up with me toward the bottom and then go the rest of the way down with me. No one will be surprised when you see the picture of Jeff on the lift with his phone in hand.

Jeff probably spent half of the day skiing backwards so that he could watch me and tell me what I needed to be doing differently. He said he didn't want me looking like a "newb" out there. He kept asking if I wanted to stop and take a break. My answer was always the same, "Nope I just wanna go up again!" Between 10 and 4pm we stopped just once for 25 minutes to grab some lunch. The rest of the day was spent just going up and down the mountain. I was having a blast and I just couldn't get enough!
Monday school was out, but Jeff had to be at work. Several of our friends were going to be spending the day at Sierra Summit so I decided to grab the boys at get back up there on my own.

Wes already had a snow board and had been up a few times with friends. He knew what he was doing and after this picture was taken first thing in the morning, I didn't see him again until about 2pm. Garrett and Drew had both been just once, two years ago. Garrett rented a board and went off with his friend Zach. Within an hour of our arrival he got a horrible stomach ache and ended up catching a ride back home with some friends who had to leave early. Until they were ready to go, poor G spent his morning laying on a bench at a picnic table. Lucky for him, it was a gorgeous day and he found a good sunny bench!

Little Drew-be-love was with me on skis. The problem was that I was so new I didn't really know how to help him. Talli took him up the bunny hill and worked with him a bit and then Aaron McCaulley worked with him a few times on the tow rope hill. He had such a great attitude as we figured things out together. He is the sweetest kid and I loved hanging out with him!
I loved being up there with good friends, but it made me even more determined to learn whatever I can, as quickly as I can, so I can actually ski with them!
By two o'clock Jeff was so jealous of all of us up skiing with out him that he left work early and joined us. Wes took Jeff down a few runs so he could show Jeff his "awesomeness".
Then while Jeff took Drew for a little further instruction, I got to go on my own for a bit. So much fun! I didn't need anyone with me to enjoy this. We are buying season passes for next year, and I am certain I will have many days where I just take off on my own to spend a day on the slopes.

Our Monday with friends wrapped up perfectly when we all met for pizza at our favorite place in Shaver. I hadn't even bothered to stop for lunch this time!

I am planning to go back this weekend with some of the boys. I have found a new addiction. All these years I had no idea how much fun I was missing out on. I'm ready to make up for it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Toilet Training and June Cleaver

When I was in 6th grade and my teacher Ms Hampton told us we would all stand in front of the class and say what we wanted to be when we grew up and why I thought long and hard. All I ever wanted to do was be a wife and mom. When I stood before the class the following day I confidently reported that while some might find the idea of being barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen derogatory I thought it sounded like Heaven. I wanted to be a modern day June Cleaver (of Leave it to Beaver fame), looking fabulous at the end of the day with a perfectly clean home, dinner on the table, and happy well rounded children. And while I am thrilled to be striving towards what I set out to do when I was just 11 years old, I have recognized on many occations just how many things I didn't consider when I made that statement. For example just how are those children going to turn out to be happy and well rounded? It's all up to me...

Being the mother of boys, I am always keenly aware that I am raising someone elses husband and father. I am constantly trying to engrain into their minds things that we women wish that the men in our lives understood. I want them to be tender and understanding. They need to know that sometimes a girl just needs a little something new to lift her spirits. That it is NEVER okay to just sit around and expect to be waited on. My sons will learn to cook, do laundry, clean a house, and sew a button onto their shirts. They will be grateful and not presumptuous. It is important to me that they learn to work hard and get their hands dirty. The list goes on and on. I want them to understand how to fix things. And while I hope that they do well enough in life that they are not required to do all the fixing, there are just some things that everyone ought to know.

I had one of those rounding out moments today. Garrett who is home sick again, came running in to tell me that one of the little girls at preschool had plugged up the toilet. It was about to overflow. He was in a complete panic, and his eyes were wild. He couldn't comprehend my calm nature as I walked briskly down the hall. "Hurry mom!" he yelled. I walked in and turned off the water behind the tank, and explained to him what he needed to do next time. His face was all screwed up with his lips pinched in a look of complete disgust. He just couldn't fathom bending down that close to where the water could possibly be flowing out. Oh I see so its better to wait a little longer and allow that chance of the water overflowing to become even greater and let someone else be grossed out? Sorry. At my house, if you plug it up, you can unplug it. It's your mess.

Apparrently he has had a huge fear of overflowing toilets. Especially public ones with so much water pressure. He says he never flushes any toilet until he is completely ready to run out of the room just in case the toilet overflows. I had no idea...I decided it was time for a lesson on the toilet. I took the lid off of the tank and explained how things worked. Then we got out a favorite book of ours called The Way Things Work. It picked up where my knowledge got a little sketchy. He had so many questions and wanted to run several scenarios by me to see what he should do. I think the fear has subsided. No son of mine will be found clutching his pants, running from a bathroom, in fear of the toilet water. EVER.

In sixth grade couldn't have imagined that before I got that yummy dinner on the table I might possibly spend my day teaching my son the inner workings of a toilet. Do you think June did?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Eleven Friends. Two cars. Lunch at Panera. A pit stop at the Gilroy Outlets. Two new jackets, one pair of pants, 2 tops, a pair of pajama bottoms, one swim suit cover up, 2 ties, and 3 bottles of Bath and Body lotions. Parking in San Francisco. Pouring down rain. Dinner at Johns Grill. The dessert menu...Disgusting surprises at the parking garage. An amazing performance of Wicked. A moment straight from an episode of 24 at the 7-11 in Livermore at 12:30 am. Laughter. A 2:30 am arrival home. Wicked Fun!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Happiness this week came in so many different packages.
cute scout skits
the arrival of my new ski coat
my third time this week running made even better by the rain,

laughing at these three going incognito by simply adding bandanas
watching these beautiful people on screen

yummy treats from friends
these darling pajama bottoms
seeing this musical(more details to follow soon)
and shopping with these friends

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Confessions of a Tough Girl

When I was a senior in high school my PE teacher was the Clovis West varsity football coach. He loved to tease, but he took our PE classes pretty seriously. I was new to my high school, moving in just 2 weeks before school started. It wasn't long before my classmates learned that I was a tough competitor. I was always one of the last girls standing in a game of dodge ball and one of the first to finish our laps around the track. I held the record all year long in all of coach Blankenships girls PE classes for pull ups. I won a mud wrestling match at a night rally during homecoming week. And while my 5'4, 118 lb frame might have suggested otherwise, I was dubbed "The Burley Woman" or just "Burley" by Coach B.

I have no problem with hard work. In fact I relish in it a bit. I like to stand back and look at a project and be able to see the diference I have made. I have singlehandedly removed almost all of the trees and plants in our landscaping and replaced them, I have learned how to do basic electrical wiring enough that I can change out light fixtures or even add a few where none are exsisting. I can pull a trailer, lay tile, change a tire, lift heavy things, use a drill and other tools generally considered mens toys. I like to think that I'm pretty tough.

Just because I can do it all, doesn't mean I want to do all of it. Not all the time. The truth of the matter is, I'm still just a girl. I want to be taken care of and coddled a bit now and then. I like to be pampered and I want to feel pretty. I am sensitive and get my feelings hurt sometimes. When I am home alone overnight, I sleep with the lights on and my cell phone next to my pillow, because I'm scared. If by chance there was something to legitimately be afraid of and I did need to call the police, I don't want a woman in uniform showing up. I want a man with a gun.

So just like Dorothy's friend the Cowardly Lion, I may be a tough girl on the outside, but I must confess, my insides are mush!