Friday, August 28, 2009

Can I brag a little?

I make no secret that I'm the self appointed president of Nate's fan club. I'll get in trouble for gushing too much, but suffice it to say, he's good -- at a lot of stuff. I mean, you saw the kite flying, right? No further explanation needed.

So, since he's off roughing it and backpacking in the Sierras with his cousin Josh, I figured this was the perfect time to share just one least until he goes out of town again.
Usually when Nate takes pictures, he comes home with a few hundred and hates them all. My untrained and apparently unartistic eye totally doesn't get it. You just spent four hours taking pictures and you don't like ANY of them?
But last Saturday was different.
After heading to Emigrant Gap with his photo savvy friend, Jason, Nate came home excited and, dare I say, proud. He proclaimed that he had just taken the best pictures yet. And, I have to say, they're pretty amazing. So, I share with you a few of his favorites from Saturday and a few of mine. But, don't take too long to view them because when he gets home and sees that I've been bragging, this post might vanish. I hope not, but you never know!

HERE'S another of Nate's favorites from Saturday.
HERE and HERE are two of my favorites.
Oh, and this ONE was taken at night when it was totally dark outside. Look carefully, do you see the big dipper? Awesome.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ready...or Not

This is my freezer.

I've got homemade burritos, sauces with and without meatballs, enchiladas, pasta bakes...all kinds of good stuff. I guess you could call it the food storage I'd go for first in an emergency, but right now I think of it more as our cache of food I've prepared for those days I'm just too worn out to cook. My freezer is ready. Ready for what?

Well, school starts tomorrow. It will be my tenth first day of school as a teacher. Yes, tenth. My classroom is put together and organized, name tags are on desks, and I'm ready to greet eighteen little darlings in the morning. I hear that some of them actually aren't so darling, but hopefully, in time, I can help to change that, at least when they're with me. For the second time in three years I spent the entire summer thinking I was teaching fifth grade. Yet another miracle came my way just a week ago, and I returned to my favorite age of kids. In times like this I should (and am, really) just be grateful for a job, but a third grade job makes me smile a lot more than fifth.

And yet, I can say with absolute certainty, while structurally everything is ready, I am not so much. You see, this summer I fell in love with being a stay at home wife. I loved taking care of our home and yard. Being available to help friends and church members at any time of the day was just a treat! I definitely stayed busy, but it was busy on a schedule I created, instead of teaching all day and trying to fit everything else in as well. It's hard to fully describe the feelings I had, but I realized more than ever, that our home and family are who I want to work for most. I can't thank Nate enough for encouraging me (and basically deciding for me) to not work this summer. More than anyone, he saw how challenging last year was from a personal and medical perspective and he knew what I needed even better than I did.
Can I be honest? It's been a bit of a challenge resetting my reality for this year. Last Spring I thought I'd only be teaching until November. There were other things on the horizon. Things are different now. But different isn't altogether bad. It's just, well, different.

I am quite sure that there's a reason these kids and I are supposed to be together -- for the whole year. Third grade is fun; I love seeing those little eyes light up and get excited about learning. I'm a little nervous for the wild card kids and how life outside of school will affect how well I function as a teacher, but all of that will work itself out. It did last year, and that gives me confidence that I'm capable of handling it all again. So I guess it doesn't really matter if I'm ready or not. Tomorrow is right around the corner, and I get to choose how to handle it. It's probably best if I tackle it with excitement, humor and hard work...and maybe a little bravery for good measure. :-)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nate's New Hobby

As we were leaving Bodega Bay a few weeks ago, Nate spoke up and asked if we could make a stop at one of the kite shops in town. He just wanted to LOOK for a fun kite. Well, looking turned into purchasing and, like a kid on Christmas, he couldn't wait to give it a try.

One problem, Folsom isn't exactly the Windy City, especially in August. So he waited a week until we got to Sea Ranch and couldn't wait to get his new stunt kite and its 40 feet of tail in the air. I caught some of the action and (since he won't say it, but I will), he's gotten even better than what you see here. I'm grateful for yet another hobby that is compact and portable. Any hobby that doesn't resemble anything that's missing an engine and keeping me from parking in the garage is welcome by me!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Becoming a Rancher

No, we have not taken up cattle branding and roping as new hobbies. This is an entirely different kind of ranching my friends.

Let me explain.

These are Nate’s sweet parents.
Thanks to them we had an incredible week at Sea Ranch (which, if you've never heard of it, isn't a ranch at all) with all of the family together. We were just missing that hardworking Elder Boyce.
There was plenty of time for playing, relaxing, reading, taking long walks and hitting the beach. Oh, and the most beautiful morning runs EVER. Coming back to the gym on Monday was such a let down!

Being all together doesn't happen very often.

Each time though it reminds us how blessed we are to be a part of something so wonderful. There's no one we'd rather laugh or be silly with!

We especially tried to soak in as much time as we could with these cuties:
So lucky to have such darling nieces...
even when they're having their meltdowns!

I loved exploring the tide pools, even though I fell both times we went. I guess the seaweed was a little more slippery than I thought. I'm sure it had nothing to do with my own clumsiness.

No big deal. A few scrapes and Nate helping me out of this terribly awkward position was totally worth it!

This trip was a true vacation – in every way.

For seven days there was little concern about a clean house, yard work, errands to run, medical appointments, or other stresses that seem to crowd themselves into every day life.

I never really understood how incredible this place is until I experienced it for myself. A lot of friends (especially you Everetts!) have spent time at Sea Ranch. They said great things, but I had no idea.

What I know now is that there’s a certain magic to Sea Ranch where everything slows down and life becomes much more simple. I'm ready to go back -- permanently.