Saturday, February 28, 2009

A battle to be won!

Yesterday, a war was waged. It was me....

versus THESE shoes!!!!
No problem, right? How hard can this be? Though Paul lost once, I've seen him win this fight over and over. I knew the theory behind the winning strategy, and even practiced once, knowing that I should be mindful.
HERE is our battlefield. Notice the new pedals!

HERE is the result of our first battle...


Witness authentic battle damage!!!

Here is a huge scuff mark on my BRAND NEW saddle. This seat had been on the bike for less than an hour. Good thing it's a bit more comfy than the last one, cuz there's no returning it now!

It was a tough defeat, landing on the pavement in front of my house. I was worried that this would happen, and for a minute there, I had it under control. Then CRASH! I'm pretty sure the last time I fell off my bike was probably 27 years ago or more. Canon and Paul witnessed the whole thing, and though Paul was probably trying hard not to laugh, Canon was very concerned about Mommy's owie! I was laughing too, though, despite the scrape on my knee and the huge bruises on my butt and left triceps.

Here's a quick rundown of how it all happened. I got these new cycling shoes in the mail yesterday afternoon. Paul ran down to the local cycling shop to get some clipless pedals to go with them and installed the pedals and my new seat while I finished up work for the afternoon. As mentioned, I practiced clipping in and out a few times before taking it for a spin, so as I was finishing up my first trial run, I clipped out of the right pedal, then the left. Unfortunately, as I moved the left pedal down in order to dismount the bike, I accidentally (and unknowingly) clipped back in. Then, once the bike was stopped and I attempted to put my left foot down, instead of my foot going down, my entire body and the bike just toppled over while I was still attached to the bike! Oh, if only we'd been video taping it! I'm sure I'd laugh my head off! But, OUCH!!! The next time my boys come up to me with scraped knees and hands, I'm sure I'll be much more sympathetic, because it really does hurt a lot! I did jump back on the bike and managed to clip in and out successfully a good 4-5 times. The first battle may have been lost, but no way was I going to lose the war!

The saddest part though, is the scratches on my pretty new bike. As you can see, my handle bar and seat got the worst of it. It really is too bad, but I'm not too worried about it. Really, what can you do?!

Anyway, I thought it'd be fun to have the world share in my shame! If you try wage this war yourself, practice more than once, and make sure you're riding near some grass. It's just softer than gravelly concrete.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another plateau? We'll have to see.

I'm starting to see a pattern here. Six weeks ago, I weighed-in at Weight Watchers at 157ish. For two weeks, I didn't gain or lose anything, and then all of a sudden, I lost 3.4 pounds and weighed-in at 154.4 pounds. Last week I'd only lost .2 lbs and this week, I gained that .2 back.

Weight loss has been such an interesting journey for me. I am working out like crazy right now and feeling great about my progress. I'm amazed every time I go running how much easier it is to run without that extra 32 pounds distributed around my body. Yesterday, I even did my first "brick," which is a multisport term for layering 2 workouts on top of each other. I rode my bike about 8 miles and then jumped off and ended up running about 2.5 miles that I was able to do at a 10 minute per mile pace (I was going to only do 1 mile, but was feeling pretty good and kept going). I did actually walk in between the miles during the run and then completely collapsed on the grass when I got back home, so don't be too impressed. It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment though! But I'm finding that with little successes here and there, I'm also starting to slack on keeping close track of my points and making the best food choices. Thankfully, through this process, I haven't been gaining weight, but I get annoyed with myself that my results could be even better if I'd just be consistent with the diet.

So, this week, I'm going to keep very close track of what I'm eating. Hopefully next week, if I'm a good girl, I'll have a good weight loss. Which means that I need to go upstairs and write down that I just ate 3 points worth of Fro-Yo while typing this! I sent Paul to Wal-mart to get me some Diet Pepsi with Lime (he was heading there anyway), and he comes home bearing Ben & Jerry's! "What have you done?" I asked! You wonder why I falter sometimes! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Opening the envelopes!

My husband has twin little brothers, named Preston and Tanner. When I started dating Paul, these little bros were 8 years old and had just gotten baptized. Well, today, some life-changing envelopes came from Salt Lake City. These envelopes contained special letters signed by the Prophet himself, President Thomas S. Monson. We all gathered together at Mom and Dad's tonight to watch them open their mission calls. This is how Rhyll set up the envelopes. She's good at making things look extra special! This is a statue of two missionaries riding bikes, though it's hard to see in the picture.

We had to wait around for a while until everyone got there. We're usually waiting for someone around this family... and often, it's Dad! It was Dad again tonight. I've never actually been with someone when they've opened their mission call, so I was tingling with excitement. Preston went first. He'll be serving in the Sao Paolo North mission in Brazil, speaking Portuguese (of course). Here's a picture of him with his call. I love that Canon is peeking around his shoulder. Canon will be 8 years old when P & T get back home and will have just gotten baptized. CRAZY!!!

Then Tanner opened his, and after pulling out every single paper in the big envelope, he finally found the actual letter. He will be serving in the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil mission, also speaking Portuguese. Both he and Preston will be leaving on July 8th, flying straight to the Mission Training Center in Brazil. I think it's great that they will both be serving in the same country, speaking the same language, flying away on the same flight to enter the MTC together. Here's Tanner with his call... I think he was talking to his cousin Ethan at the time.

I'm very proud of these two young men. They give me hope for being able to raise righteous young men in today's world. I can't believe I've been part of the family long enough to watch them grow up this much. Andy is going to be 8 this summer, the same age the twins were when I met them. It's making me tear up just a bit in thinking how fast my own boys are going to grow up and fly away! It's amazing and terrifying at the same time.

Congratulations Pres & Tan. We're very excited for you both.

Picture Tag

This is the 6th picture in my 6th folder. It's a pretty cute pic of my Charlie Bear. I love this picture because either Andy or Canon took it, it's out of focus, crooked, and it highlights his cute smile and the orange splatter of who-knows-what on the pantry door behind him! I'm not surprised this random photo tag is of Charles... I have TONS of little portraits of him. But they're cute, so I don't delete them! Everytime the camera is out, Charlie starts repeating "picture me! picture me!" until several get taken! I love having this sweet little monkey around!

Do this tag if you're stuck on something to blog about. It's an easy one!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The cards we made

Today was jam packed with the bike ride this morning, stamp club this afternoon, and then a night full of babysitting and cleaning the house. I already documented the bike ride, and there's no reason to go into detail about how many video games the kids played while their friends spent the evening here, but I would like to post the cards we made, since it's been so long since I've done that.
The first card we did was very simple! I completely copied this card by Stephanie Severin but used different swirly stamps and a different flower accent. I like hers better, but this one ended up looking okay! Stamps include cute & curly, and priceless. Punches include the curly label punch, 5-petal flower, and spring bouquet with a gold brad holding it together. Cardstock colors include Basic Black, Old Olive, Tangerine Tango, and Whisper White with the same ink colors used. Lemon squeezy!
This next card took a few more supplies, but this one is also deceptively simple. I cut out some glossy white paper with my Big Shot Top Notes Die and then stamped the grass from Inspired by Nature in StazOn black. I then stamped an old retired circle from Little Shapes in versamark for the sun. Next, I took my handy dandy brayer and rolled some So Saffron ink all over the paper which made the sun show up through a technique called versamark resist. Then using stampin sponges, I sponged some Groovy Guava and Tangerine Tango on the top, and Kiwi Kiss and Old Olive on the bottom, blending it all together to make this nice spectrum. Next I glued black little horizontal slot ovals onto the grass to create cattails. Lastly, I tied some Kiwi Kiss striped grosgrain ribbon around it and glued it on a black background and a Kiwi Kiss card base. This card was inspired by this card by "stegsinfo", but I changed the colors and instead of the bird turned the grass into cattails. I LOVE this card!
The last card we did was another REALLY simple one. It's a simplified version of this card by Ashley Newell. Hers was much more fancy, but I'm kinda cheap when it comes to mass producing cards! This card used the bird from Always and the thanks from Pocket Silhouettes. I cut out the red circle and brown scallop circle beforehand with my nestabilities dies. I stamped the bird in chocolate chip ink on whisper white cardstock and cut her out. Tied the red grosgrain ribbon on the 4x4" square of baja breeze textured cardstock, stamped the "thanks" in choc chip on the white strip, and glued it all together on a chocolate chip 4.25x8.5" card base.

Good morning SUNSHINE!

I was SO happy to see the sun shining this morning. Though I needed to fit in a swim workout for the day, I decided to take my bike and introduce it to the road instead! Since I was freaked out about popping a tire or having some sort of incident, I went to all the hassle of finding one of the ward young women to come watch the boys for an hour so Paul and I could go together. Not that I'm wishing away the next four years, but I am very much looking forward to the day Andy is 12ish and I can squeeze in a quick workout or a trip to the store without paying somebody $4- 6 bucks!

Paul's brother Spencer was coming with us and then we met up with his parent's neighbor, Chris Shurian as well. It was chilly this morning, so I bundled up a little too well for how hard I ended up working! At one point, I took off my jacket and gloves, but then got a bit too cold with the breeze I was creating for myself, so I put the gloves back on. It was a beautiful combination of warm hands and cold arms! I ended up going about 10.5 miles and we had 3 stops in between while we were waiting for others to join us. Paul and the guys ended up going much further (an extra 20 miles) after I turned to head home. They had been humoring me by taking it easy and letting me set the pace. I'm sure they were definitely ready to get started on their "real workout"! Riding the bike was tough on my legs and just about wore me out! But out of curiosity, after I got home, I put my bike inside, took of my helmet and jacket and decided to run around the block real quick just to see what it would feel like. I couldn't believe how much my legs felt like BUTTER as I was bouncing along. I say bouncing because I basically had no ability to lift/kick my legs with my hamstrings and quads burned out! Next week, I'll have to try running 3 miles and then jump on the bike to get a taste of what my triathlon will be like. Typical triathlons have the run following the bike ride, but mine has the run first. I'll let you know how that goes!

Anyway, I just wanted to document how glorious it felt to actually RIDE my bike, instead of just spinning on my bike like I've been doing since Christmas. I'm so grateful for our bike trainer, since it's allowed me to get accustomed to my bike, but there is such a huge difference when you actually feel yourself moving as you pedal harder and faster! I'm SO excited that we had beautiful weather today and hope it sticks around for a while!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

And we have lift off!

Today was Paul's last day of work as an employee of the State of Utah's Department of Services for People with Disabilities (at least I THINK that's what DSPD stands for!). He was so stressed out the last few days trying to get done in 3 days the amount of work he usually leaves for the last 2 weeks of the month. I was stressed the last 2 days trying to SQUEEZE in one more doctor appointment here or another dentist appointment there! We definitely needed to maximize on the last couple of days of State benefits. We will definitely be missing our $20 per month premiums for health insurance!

So what's next, you ask? Starting tomorrow, Paul will now be doing contract work for the State of Utah's Department of Services for People with Disabilities. Did you notice the subtle difference there? He doesn't have his own contract, so he'll be working for his friend's company/contract, Keystone Advocacy and Supports, doing pretty much EXACTLY what he's been doing for the last 3.5 years! But what the change boils down to is this: Paul will bring home about the same amount of money, but instead of working 160 hours per month, he'll be working more like 50 hours per month (give or take more time and money depending on how many clients he works with). This will open up Paul's life and schedule to allow him more time to 1) parent our 3 boys and save us $$$ on babysitting! 2) become wicked fast at swimming, running, and biking so he can do awesome in his half-ironman race this summer... and for the record, his race is over 4 times the length of the one I'll be doing in 2 months... I want to barf just thinking about it! 3)golf 4) if weather is not permitting #3, he'd like to go skiing sometime. 5) keep our house away from the edge of it's current state of utter self-destruction and 6) hmmm, oh yeah, the most important one, go back to school to get a degree in counseling.

With today approaching, I thought about where we were in life when Paul got this job in the first place. It was the summer of 2005 and we were living in Burley, Idaho. At the time, I was working full-time and Paul was home taking care of our 2 preschool-aged boys. Andy was 4 and Canon was 2. Back then, we had just switched places completely. I remember that from the moment I took the job at the hospital, I didn't do one single load of laundry (aside from folding it). Paul took amazing care of us, and to my shame, he did "my job" WAY better than I did. It was only for about 5-6 months that we lived this way, and by the time it was over, we were ready to switch back! Early in the summer, Paul applied for this job as a "support coordinator" and we came down for an interview in American Fork. Weeks and then months went by and we never heard back from them, not even one of the infamous rejection letters we eventually came to expect. Amazingly, in September we got some news about a crisis in Paul's family, and even more amazingly, one week after getting that news, Paul was offered a job in the Spanish Fork office, placing us just miles from his parents in Mapleton. Even though we loved our friends and family in Burley, we knew the Lord was moving us to Springville for a purpose. Within 6 months, ALL of Paul's siblings ended up moving closer, putting us all within a 20 mile radius of each other. Cool huh? So, Paul moved down here in mid-September, leaving me to finish up a 2 week notice with both boys in Burley. It was a really tough month, but what do you do? From the get-go, Paul enjoyed his job. He's enjoyed his co-workers, his consumers, and the beautiful balance between office time and out-of-office time. He also enjoyed the good benefits and having every holiday off. What he didn't enjoy? The fact that there was no view of advancing his career (or his pay) with the state. He put in 3.5 good years, but needed to jump off the treadmill that is the government and actually hit the road running, so to speak.

So, things will be a little different around here. We haven't done it yet, but still need to sit down together and delineate our roles in our marriage and family so the lines don't get too fuzzy. Paul did already make it known that he doesn't want to cook. I don't blame him there! I really dislike cooking, but since it's something I can handle with my current schedule (which won't be changing until summertime), I'll continue to take charge of keeping the family from starving!

My feelings on the whole thing? Peace, hope, and optimism with a little dash of concern thrown in! I'm hopeful that with Paul being home, it will take the edge off the chaos that we've been experiencing since I picked up that fourth contract with Merit Academy. I'm sure this will add some stability to our kids' lives and schedules, especially with baseball season coming up. Canon has been the most ready to no longer have a babysitter. Charlie on the other hand often asks to go to Britton's (our babysitter's son) house on the days he and I are home together... I must be boring. I feel peaceful and confident about our finances, mostly because he WILL still be bringing home the bacon (and for the first time in our marriage making more per hour than I do!). I'm also confident in the safety net that my job provides.

I'm excited about him going back to school in a direction that will lead him to a successful place. For years, Paul has talked about going back to get a masters degree in something. But in what? And when? And where? And to do WHAT? When he recently suggested counseling, it all made sense. That "stupor of thought" just went away! But my first question was, "Are you sure?" Followed by, "Do you really want to sit there and listen to people whine and complain about their lives?" He understood my concern, but answered, "I just feel like I've been lead to this." And he has. With all of the experiences he's had with his employment over the last 10 years, Paul will be an AWESOME counselor. He also already has contacts with a couple of therapy niches in which he'd like to try and help fill the current voids.

So, as of tomorrow, we get to redefine "normal" again! Changes like these are never easy, but now that we know that we'll never have a "normal" (old definition of normal) week again, we just get to move forward. I'm so excited and look forward to seeing what "Chapter 5" will bring to us! The first 4 chapters have been pretty gripping and I'm a big fan of the author of our book!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Some new shelves!

Months and MONTHS ago, I bought some more shelves to help us organize our storage room better and get everything off the floor! Well, in true Croshaw fashion (at least this house of Croshaws), those shelves just sat there and sat there in the box. Finally on Saturday, Paul was sweet and set them up for me!

Here are all my men and my new shelves!

The boys thought they were fun to lay on! Glad to know they are sturdy!

And here's the pile of crap I need to organize and put ON the shelves in order to clear some more room in the corner to put up another set of shelves. Any bets on how long it takes me to get started on this one?! All I'm saying is, don't hold your breath!

A progress update

It's been a while since I've posted some of my progress in the weight loss and triathlon training arena. As of last Thursday, I have now lost 32.2 pounds. I now have less than 10 to go to reach my weight watchers goal! Seeing that end goal get nearer, you'd think that I would have shown some restraint this weekend and not completely fallen off the wagon, but alas... I ate too much yummy food. I've come to realize that this proverbial wagon ride is a bumpy one. Let's hope the scale this week isn't too cruel.

I've kicked up my training a notch. My star-triathlete brother-in-law, Luke, lent me a training book that lines up an 11 week "zero to hero" schedule. Since I'm not starting out at zero, I've decided to follow the schedule and try to do these smaller steps at a faster time. Last week, it was actually clear enough to run outside, so I went on a 4 mile run. While this is further than I have been able to go in the past, I didn't run it much faster. So when the schedule said I should run 2.5 miles on Saturday, I decided to make sure I ran it at a 10 minute mile pace. I seriously almost threw up! It was close! So, even though I'm feeling confident about my ability to actually finish the race, I'm hoping I can stay focused on the next 8.5 weeks of training to have a respectable time! I can't believe how fast time is flying. This race is inching closer and closer!

I also have a really annoying complaint... one that I give you permission to say in your poutiest voice, "oh, poor Diana! I feel so bad for you." At Christmas/birthday time, I finally gave myself permission to go buy some smaller clothes, which was triumphant for me! So, I've had these clothes for only about 5-6 weeks now, and I can already shimmy out of ALL of my new pants without unbuttoning them. In a way, I'm thinking, "Yea! I'm officially a size 10!" (something I've been shooting for since my single college days) and I'm also thinking, "Ugh! I just bought these clothes and I'm already feeling frumpy in them!" I know, I KNOW, poor baby! I just wish I wouldn't have bought so many new pants. Had I known, I would have limited it to 3. And since I'm not sure how much more weight I will lose between now and the race, I've convinced myself that I don't need to go buy anything for now since the others will make due until then. I'm wondering if my body will skip size 10 the way it did size 14. The day I squeeze my butt into a size 8, you'll probably all hear the squeal!

Anyway... that's my update!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I love my Valentine!

Even though I just spent the entire week blogging about my sweetheart, I wanted to throw another one in here on behalf of Valentine's Day. Also because, the fact that Paul and I have been talking about our dating process a lot this week, it has brought up some old insecurities (nothing drastic, but our 9 months of dating was pretty grueling for both of us) and that is the last thing I want my husband to feel right now as he is venturing off into a new job and career path in a week.

So, since he's been my valentine for 10 years now, I thought I'd do a top 10 list on why I love my husband so much. For those with quesy stomachs when it comes to mushy stuff, stop reading now. My sweetie is not perfect, but he's very LOVABLE, and here are some reasons why:

1. He is GOOD. He is one of those people who is completely without guile. It is so valuable to me to have a man that wants the best for everyone. I've never seen him try to make himself look bigger by trying to make someone else seem small. I still have a lot to learn from him in this department.

2. He is WELL-ROUNDED. One of my favorite things about Paul is that no matter who they are or what kind of background they have, Paul can carry on a good conversation with just about anyone. He has such a variety of interests, he can usually find some common ground on which to build a conversation or relationship.

3. He is ATHLETIC. I don't think Paul's ever found a sport he didn't like... well, unless you consider hunting and fishing a sport. Thankfully, we don't have to spend as much money at Cabela's as we do Sports Authority! Basketball, soccer, football, golf, skiing, biking, running, swimming, etc. He's good at all of these... not necessarily the star of the team, but can hold his own. I'm very proud of how well he's done and how much he's improved in his triathlon racing. He works hard and is easy to cheer on!

4. He's a GREAT DRIVER. Now, before you say, "huh?" I'm including this because I am NOT a good driver and don't particularly like driving. So, for me to have a husband that ALWAYS drives when we're together and the fact that he's a great driver and has never put us in danger, this is why it makes the list!

5. He is TALENTED. I love to sing with Paul. I love it when we find a song that would be fun to sing together and he can sit down and figure out the guitar accompaniment as well as the harmonies. I also love it that he recently (last two years) learned to play the bass for his sisters' band.

6. He is a great FATHER. I am grateful that my boys have an excellent example of manhood and priesthood and husbandhood (if that's not a word, then it should be). He's firm when he needs to be, but guides them with love and a gentle hand. He also rough-houses them plenty, which they can't get enough of. My boys adore their daddy.

7. I love his LAUGH. Paul is easy to make laugh. He's very reinforcing this way and makes you feel so good about yourself. Another reason why he's fun to be with.

8. He's SEXY! I obviously don't need to go into detail about this one, but all the training he does has really paid off! Plus, he smells really good (well, except after basketball, but that's easily fixed)!

9. He HELPS me be a better wife, mother, and person. I'm grateful for how Paul is so capable of filling in all the blanks I leave around our house (and life). I also appreciate all the encouragment and reinforcement for my weight loss efforts and in meeting my goals for the triathlon. He pushes me to be better and to do my best. He does this with so much patience, tolerance and love.

10. He LOVES me! Try as I might, sometimes I just can't figure this one out. But, I'm not going to complain about that! As I said, he's very patient and looks for the best in others. This is very much to my advantage.

There you have it! Ten good reasons why I love Paul. Now that I'm done with 10, I've already thought of some more I could add. Next Valentine's day, maybe I'll add some more! I hope you all had a great lover's holiday!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

*Chapter 6* - The proposal

For those just tuning in... I have spent this last week posting about the story of how Paul and I met, fell in love, broke up, got back together, and now got engaged 10 years ago today. This is where the story left off from yesterday.
When we went shopping for rings, we ended up going to two different stores and found two similar rings that I really liked. Paul told me that he was going to check both places and compare prices. He also told me it may take a couple weeks. The approaching Valentine's day was on a Sunday that year and Paul had to work on Saturday and Sunday, so we decided to celebrate V-day on Friday the 12th. Paul was making a big deal out of this date, so I was suspecting something may happen soon, but he kept assuring me the ring wasn't done.

Paul came to pick me up that evening and when he opened the car door for me (something he always did... that was before the beauty of keyless entry diminished his chivalry), there was a beautiful rose on the seat with a note attached. Very sweet and I was thinking good things about this date. But then, the restaurant he took me to was anything but romantic. It's called Kate's Kitchen and it's basically one step above a full-on buffet kind of place! Thankfully, they have decent food! There was a significant line to get in, which seemed to stress Paul out a little bit. We finally were seated and started on our meal when 3 of Paul's friends showed up and the four of them sang a song for me. As they were singing, I was nervously looking at Paul's pockets looking for a ring box indentation, seriously hoping he wasn't going to propose to me at this bright, noisy, and crowded restaurant! They finished the song and then the guys left and Paul sat down to finish his dinner. At that point I thought, "maybe he's NOT going to propose tonight."

We had tickets to go see "Three Penny Opera," a play they were doing up on campus. We got there and soon after it began, we realized that it was the morbid musical about Mack the Knife. On top of that, it was bad acting and overall really bad theater (in their defense, both of us are pretty harsh critics). Not long into the play, Paul leans over to me and emphatically says, "I really want to leave." I agreed, so the next time the lights went out after a song, we grabbed our coats and scooted right out of there. The play sort of ruined what little romantic mood had been built up to that point, but we were trying to salvage that. Paul mentioned that he had one more idea of what we could do, but that it wouldn't take very long. We made our way back to the car and then drove over to the other side of campus to walk around Old Main Hill.

It was cold (Logan is a freaking ICE BOX!!!) and both of us were shaking, but Paul seemed to be shaking a lot! We stopped on the northwest side of the building where you can see the Logan temple. It was a clear night and the temple looked so beautiful. This picture is a daytime view of the temple from where we were standing.
Paul began telling me about how excited he was about the last nine months of our relationship and his excitement about the next couple of months, knowing what we had decided in the temple the week before. Then he told me he was also excited about tonight. When I asked why, he pulled out a box and said, "Because I want to give you this." I think I screamed and called him a liar (since he told me it wasn't going to be done for a while still) as he knelt down and asked me to marry him. I started crying and said yes. The ring was so beautiful and I was so jittery about it I hardly let him put it on my finger! We hugged for a long time and moved over into some light so I could see it sparkle! Here's a picture of the ring I've been wearing for 10 years today! Actually, we added the anniversary band a couple years into the marriage, but the top ring is what he gave me that night.
One thing that makes this ring extra special to me is that this was my mother-in-law's diamond. She hadn't been using her original wedding ring, so they offered the diamond to Paul to use on my ring. It's exactly what I would have picked since I wanted a round diamond. I also don't have to feel guilty anymore because a couple years ago, my father-in-law bought her a nice and big diamond that she wears now! I told Paul that when Andy's looking to get engaged, he can upgrade my diamond then and we can pass this one on to him... hope she likes round!
Anyway, back to the story... We were there long enough to have our "moment" and then because I was so excited (and it was freezing!), we drove over to my little sister, Alisha's, apartment first to show her. She and her roommates gave me the perfect girly/squealing reinforcement I was looking for, so then we went over to Spencer and Jen's house (my brother and sis-in-law) to show them and break the news to Mom and Dad. The next and last stop was at Scott and Robbie's (my other brother and sis-in-law!). They were all very happy for us and I was so glad to have family around to share the news with. That's where this picture was taken! I don't think I could have smiled bigger!
So, overall, it was a great proposal, because ultimately, I was very much in love with this man and so excited to be his bride! A decade later, I am still very much in love with this man and work hard to still consider myself his "girlfriend." He is an exceptionally wonderful husband to me and I'm grateful for him everyday. Especially days like today when he brings me home beautiful flowers like these, accompanied with a spa gift certificate! Can't wait for the lilies to bloom!
So, that's our story. Thanks for sticking with me and making it through to the end! This has been so fun to walk through these events again. It made today all the more special for me!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

*Chapter 5* - Getting serious now

(quick edit: I just added some pictures to the previous posts and this one. Since my old scanner won't attach to my new computer and my old computer is dead, I just had to take a picture of some of the photos, so they are fuzzy at best and downright bad at worst!)
This blog post may not be the most exciting one as far as plot is concerned. By the end of October, Paul and I were back together. By the end of November, I was getting a little freaked out because things were getting "dang serious." Hopefully nobody minds that I will continue to quote my journal here and there. It's just the easiest way for me to summarize what was going through my head. We were seeing each other at least once a day at this point and Paul had finally gotten a job... the previous lack of a job was something that was giving me a LOT of grief.

Anyway, right before Thanksgiving, I wrote, "The way things are going, I'm going to marry Paul. This would not be a bad choice, but I can definitely see where our problems would be. It's like I've always known, you pick your problems with any guy." I'm glad I understood this concept at that point in my life. One of the struggles I was having was that it wasn't a fairy tale, it wasn't fast, it wasn't OBVIOUS that this was the guy I was supposed to marry. It was LIFE. We were compatible emotionally and physically, had many common interests, shared the same values and had faith in the strength of each other's character. What it came down to was, I had to make a CHOICE, and that was the only thing I was extremely afraid of... making the choice and then living with that choice with all the GREAT and all the less than great things that came with it... for time and all eternity!

So, I did a LOT of soul searching and fasting and praying (and crying and panicking too, but not everyday) during the months of December and January. I finally realized that if he surprised me and asked me to marry him, I would want to say yes, but I would also want to feel peaceful about that. I have to add here that we were both getting lots of opposition at this time, adding to the turmoil and making peace very difficult to come by! But I finally decided that I would make the choice of "yes." Next, we picked a day to fast and pray about it together, and then ended our fast with a trip to the temple. We did all the pre-endowment ordinances and then met for a session to decide how we felt about taking the walk upstairs to the sealing rooms on a later date. Thankfully, through this process, I came to feel peace about marrying Paul! It wasn't an earth-shaking revelation with angel visitations (not that I was expecting that!), but it was a calm knowledge that I could accomplish my life goals with Paul as my partner... and that's all I needed to know.
I wrote down a fun quote in my journal that represented my feelings of excitement. It said,

"Yippee! I did the thing I feared the most. Excuse me while I cheer! Now, here I stand a stronger soul and all I've lost is fear!"

Later that evening, (it was February 5, 1999) Paul and I went ring shopping so I could show him the styles that I liked. From there... I left the next step up to him!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

*Chapter 4* - Together at last, and then not.

In came August and school was starting soon. My life at that point was getting more and more chaotic with the start of my senior year. But, Paul was going to be moving back up to Logan and we would be able to see each other everyday now! Sounds peachy, right? Well, let me describe my senior year of college for you.

First of all, my academic line up was pretty intense. I was about to be a senior in a very competitive program that REQUIRES admission into grad school if you have any intention of becoming what you are studying to become - a speech-language pathologist. In order to pad my resume as much as possible, that previous spring, I signed up for everything and just loaded it on. Here's the line-up of my extra-curricular activities. First off, I was selected to be on the Institute of Religion Counsel's service committee. In August we had an IRC retreat. Another HUGE commitment was my being the president of USU's Mortar Board Organization. For those that don't know (and really, why would you?), it's an academic/leadership/service club (kind of like National Honor Society) that looks really good on resumes. Over the summer, I got to fly to Ohio for the leadership training conference. During the first week of school, I was in charge of planning our chapter's retreat up at Bear Lake. Also, being the MB president, I also had to go to a USU leadership conference. So, there was a LOT going on in August for me, and Paul and I started having more and more DTR's (determine the relationship).

I alluded in the previous post that things weren't always perfect over the summer and that I had some misgivings. I hesitate to explain why, but it basically boils down to the fact that Paul hadn't really picked a major, didn't really have a job, and was kind of a needy guy back then. I also struggled because one weekend Paul and I drove up the canyon to share our patriarchal blessings. I LOVED reading his blessing and it confirmed the part of me that loved and admired Paul. That same night, I found a copy of his college transcript, and I didn't feel as warm-fuzzy about that as I did the blessing. Paul moved back up to Logan and things became rough for us. Here's a quote from my journal, "I felt like I had no time for Paul. He wanted to see me every day and I just couldn't. He wanted to help me, but couldn't. From that point, we had a falling out at least a couple times a week." I was a TOTAL emotional wreck from middle of August through September. We had all these HARD discussions and then one night, Paul said as we were standing at the base of the Logan Temple, "Diana, I have to be honest and tell you that it is my hope that someday, you and I will enter that building as individuals and leave as one." To this day, this is my favorite thing he has ever said to me!

I WAS SO CONFLICTED!!!! I was dating this AMAZING guy, but the logical, "survival of the fittest" instincts in me were very loud. So I did what needed to be done for us both, which resulted in my writing on Sept 20, 1998, "Today has been the worst day of my entire life thus far. That sounds like quite the exaggeration, but unfortunately, it's really not." And it really wasn't. Even now, at the age of 32, that statement holds true. I had to break up with him and I STILL remember the physical pain it caused me.

We went an entire week without talking and I dreaded running into him on campus. Our mutual friend who'd heard both sides of the story ended up forcing us to speak again in order to clear some "fog" so to speak. That night, we opened up the lines of communication again and decided to slowly start dating with the arrangement to also date others. Well, not surprisingly, neither of us dated anyone else but our relationship was different. I didn't want it to get to a level that if I needed to back off again that it wouldn't be a break up. We (no, I) kept things "friendly" and intermittent. Paul eventually told me within a couple of weeks that he wasn't still seeing me just to save our friendship. He really did love me and started working really hard again at that point. But I held back.

But things started to change for me after an early morning hike we did up Mendon Peak. Our goal was to make it to the top before sunrise. It was an insanely cool experience that I actually ended up writing a 3 page (single spaced) allegory about it. It's actually even well written (if I do humbly say so myself!). Anyway, during this hike, I thought a LOT about my life's path and relying on God and where I needed my future husband to fit into it. We did actually make it to the top of a very steep mountain just as the sun crested over the mountains on the other side of the valley, and it was glorious. Experiencing that with Paul was sort of life changing.

On the mountain, Paul asked me if I would go to Homecoming with him. I was a bit nervous about going on such an official date with him again, but said yes. I was afraid of us kissing again because I made a pact with myself that the next person I kissed was going to be the man I married. After our painful break up, I never wanted to do that again, especially to Paul. We went to homecoming and had a great time... and I made it through the night without kissing him! But I'll admit that about a week later, I "lost some control in my fits of confusion and I let Paul kiss me again." (yet another quote from my journal, written on October 29th!)

This is us at homecoming

So I guess we were lucky again that we actually got 3 first kisses, each one was awesome.

More tomorrow.

Monday, February 9, 2009

*Chapter 3* - We start dating

The next time I saw Paul was that next Tuesday in choir. We were talking before class started and Paul mentioned that the previous day he had planned on going up in the mountains to play his guitar by himself, but that the rain had kept him from it. I then said, "Ooh, next time you want to be alone in the mountains playing your guitar, give me a call!" So, then Paul said, "let's go tonight," and I happened to be available!

Paul came to pick me up that late afternoon after work and with my guitar, his guitar, and some blankets in the back of his car, we headed over to the west side of Cache Valley where Paul grew up. He took me up to this little wooded spot up in the hills above Mendon. We didn't have to walk far, probably because Paul's guitar case is wicked heavy! Now, I USED to say that I play the guitar. I had taken Beginning Group Guitar during my freshman year, and also spent the entire previous summer as a girl's camp counselor, so I wasn't completely unskilled. But then I went on a first date with Paul and his guitar. Now I say that I PRETEND to play the guitar, and that Paul actually can REALLY play. This date was a brilliant move on Paul's part, because I've always been a sucker for talent. He impressed me from the very beginning and I enjoyed just sitting there listening to him play. Normally, I'm a bit of a show off myself, but I don't think I played much while we were up there... maybe just a camp song or two. We put the guitars away and just sat there and talked and talked. He told me about his family and all that typical first date stuff! Despite spending the year together in choir, I knew very little about Paul until that point. I was impressed how easy it was to be with him and talk to him. I didn't feel the need to be anything but myself. This is the reason why he emerged ahead of the pack in those next couple of weeks.

Back to that first date: Eventually, it got cold and we headed back to the car. He drove me all the way back to my apartment and I asked him if he was hungry. Instead of getting out of the car, we headed over to Village Inn and continued our date. Again, we had a nice, casual conversation in a comfortable atmosphere. Once we were done, we headed back home and said we'd see each other later. We made it a point (not actually having talked about it or anything) not to kiss again that night, since it was basically our first date (not that that had ever stopped me before, but it had him!). I think we maybe hugged.

Our second first kiss came 2 weeks later after several more dates. Aren't we lucky that we got to have two first kisses? First kisses are high up on my happy list! Anyway, that came at the end of a group date around a campfire up the canyon. That was the first time I'd ever spent any amount of time with his sister Amy and her then fiance, Jason, but I don't remember actually talking to them much. Bit by bit, all the other couples started leaving the group and Paul and I were left there alone. This was just as we both had planned it because I know I was excited for the chance to kiss him again and he must have felt the same way.

After this point, I didn't continue to date any of those "other guys." It was just going to be Paul from then on. We made it through finals and then Paul headed south to Mapleton to live at home for the summer. My plan was to just stay in Logan, take a few classes,work, and date Paul on the weekends. He lived about 2 hours away. Over the course of that summer, Paul and I grew closer and closer, started saying "I love you" and all that good stuff. We had a lot of fun together, but I'll admit, it wasn't perfect. That being said, I also have to say that any misgivings I had about the direction our relationship was heading, they always disappeared any time I was actually WITH Paul. The summer of 1998 gave us a good solid base on which we could start building an actual relationship. I even went as Paul's date to his sister's wedding ceremony in August, something that actually made me really nervous. I could go into more detail about all the different events of that summer, but it would take FOREVER! I have a LOT of journal entries from that time period. Long-distance relationships are definitely a magical whirlwind, but they don't always represent real life. By the end of the summer, I was very excited for school to start so we could spend more of our days together and see what our relationship was really like.

More about that tomorrow.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

*Chapter 2.5* The Kiss

So, there I was, feeling odd about how hard I had to work to convince this guy to agree to kiss me already! The "making history" quote must have done the trick, however, because after that, he reluctantly agreed. Just then, a girl passing out cards walked by and I told her we needed one. Fun Fact: we were couple number 701. Technical Fact: It was May 15, 1998.

We then started walking through the crowds toward the "A". The rule was that you had to touch someone who was touching someone who was actually touching the pedestal. Here are more official details on the rules for "true aggiehood". And this link has an old picture of someone sitting on the "A". It's quite the right of passage! Anyway, back to us. I'll admit, it was an awkward walk, me holding on to his arm walking through hundreds of other people. We got ourselves properly situated near the "A" just in time and I suggested that we should just look at this as something like a stage kiss. We're both theatrical types... no need to feel weird or anything, right!? Taking my suggestion, Paul agreed to come up with some properly cheesy thing to say before it happened. As someone on a microphone counted down to midnight, Paul said, "Oh darling, you have no idea how long I have waited for this moment!" I laughed and then...

We kissed!

For 10 seconds! (that was part of the breaking the record thing)

10 seconds is a long time for a first kiss!

And now, let me tell you something about this kiss! Have you ever seen the movie "Never Been Kissed"? You know how at the end, when the total hottie comes running out to her on the pitching mound and holds her in his arms and kisses her and everything goes a little fuzzy and the cameras spin around them like they are the only people in the world at that moment?!? That's what this kiss was like for me. Which is pretty impressive considering the sheer number of people that were surrounding us! To say the least, I wasn't expecting a kiss like that - and NO, it didn't get all slurpy or anything! But I was surprised at Paul's ability to pack a powerful punch into that kiss! After it was over and my eyes came back into focus, in order to break the tension, I raised up my fists and yelled, "We're True Aggies!" I didn't know what else to say! What would YOU have said?!

Now, to be fair, I need to explain Paul's version of this story. I found out a while later that Paul had been liking me WAY before A-day. He thinks the first time he realized he liked me was after Christmas Break and feeling jealous as I was telling some of the girls in the group about the quick and crazy relationship I'd gotten into over the break. I had no idea about this! When he was hemming and hawing over whether to kiss me on A-day or not, he was actually worried about the possibility that if he kissed me, it would ruin his chances of being able ask me out later. He didn't want me to think that all he wanted was to make-out again, because he actually did like me (and actually meant what he said in his cheesy pre-kiss quote... he just said it silly enough that I wouldn't think he meant it!).

Moving on with the story, we did continue to hang out as friends from the choir for a little while longer that night. A few of us went to go get some food from Taco Bell and hung out in the car talking while we ate. It eventually just got late enough that we just went our separate ways, but I admit I wouldn't have minded hanging out with Paul some more that night. Paul's presence on my radar screen instantly got much stronger and tomorrow I'll tell you about how I subtly asked him out on our first date.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

MONTHS later - Chapter 2

I met Paul in the fall, and knew him that whole school year. We stood next to each other twice a week and were grouped into the same quartet, meaning we'd hold quartet "sectionals" occasionally at his house. Here's where I have to admit something... I don't think I ever considered dating Paul during this entire time. From my point of view, we were just acquaintances/casual friends.

Instead of noticing Paul, I was obsessing over a different guy in the choir, and another different guy in my student ward, and then even over Christmas break that year, I dated someone from high school. I also had a bunch of good guy friends from the ward that showed interest in me, but my feelings for them weren't quite mutual. It's funny to look back now and think about just how many different dating opportunities I had that year. Trust me, this wasn't a typical situation for me, but I'm grateful for it because of the ability it gave me to compare and decide what did and did not really work for me in the relationship department. The relationship I had over Christmas break, especially, taught me a LOT about how I might need to change what I initially would have thought was my "perfect guy." To sum that one up, I was, in a sense, swept off my feet, but due to long-distance circumstances and a difference in religious views, the end result was a crash landing on my butt! I only mention this because it was what paved the road for Paul and me.

The end of the school year was nearing, and Paul must have kicked in some of his flirting skills, because I did start noticing him a little more (like how I thought he was a good dresser and fun to laugh with). We would hang out a little more after concerts and stuff, but as mentioned before, there were several other guys also on my radar screen.

At USU, there is this big annual event called A-day. It's actually a whole weeks worth of fun events for the students, and the final day is A-day. That year, somebody got the great idea of trying to break the world record of the most couples kissing at one time. Since A-day always had a "kissing component" to it anyway (kissing someone at midnight on the "A" (which is a pedestal in the shape of an 'A') on homecoming night, on A-day, or on a full-moon night, could make one a "True Aggie" - a very prestigious ranking!), breaking the record on A-day made perfect sense!

One of the interested guys in my ward casually asked me on the afternoon of A-day if I wanted to "break the record" with him. Having no interest in doing such a thing with this guy, I had to come up with something quick! Thank goodness, the Jazz Choir was performing in the 'aca-polooza' concert that night (all the groups performing were acapella groups). I lied to this nice neighbor of mine and told him that the choir had made plans that night to hang out together and we weren't sure if we'd even be up there for the event. Sorry! A couple hours later at sound check, I informed the choir that at least 2-3 of us had to hang out after the concert in order to make an honest woman out of me! Since we were all good friends by this point, a bunch of us agreed.

Fast forward a couple hours after the concert, there we all were up on the quad dancing and hanging out with a couple THOUSAND other students! It was nearing midnight and though I didn't want to kiss that neighbor friend of mine, I admit that I did want to find someone to kiss! (Confession: I enjoyed kissing back then even more than I still do now!) One of my married friends from the choir, Heather, told me I should just go ask Paul. Before then, I hadn't really thought about kissing Paul, but it wasn't a bad idea, so I went to talk to him! In talking, he made a comment about how lame this entire event had turned out to be, so instead of asking him, I just agreed with him, "yeah, it's pretty pathetic!" I said! I didn't ask him.

So, midnight was creeping even closer and it was looking like I was going to be sitting this one out. I was still standing with our group and Heather said, "I dare you to just ask him." So I turn to Paul and say, "Hey Paul, on a dare, I'm supposed to ask you if you want to go get a card." (They were handing out cards to people in order to keep track of how many couples were participating). He hemmed and hawed a little, so then I said, "The way I see it, we can either become a part of history, or just stand back and watch."

Stay tuned for chapter 2.5, "the kiss"

Friday, February 6, 2009

Here's how I got there.

10 years ago this week, I was on the verge of the biggest decision of my life. I've been amazed at how happy this one decision has made me. I've decided that this week will include a series of posts that will explain the process of meeting, falling in love, breaking up with, hooking back up with, and committing myself for "time and all eternity" to my sweetie, Paul.

*Chapter 1*
The first day I ever laid eyes on Paul Croshaw was a couple weeks into the fall semester of my Junior year of college at Utah State University. It was a Tuesday afternoon, and I was sitting in rehearsal for the jazz choir. This is a choir with 12 people, 3 on each part. I was a 2nd soprano. Up until this day, there were only 11 people in the choir, and in came Paul to audition for the last remaining bass spot. As a choir, we had already spent some time learning the song, "Four Brothers" by Manhattan Transfer, an INCREDIBLY FAST and DIFFICULT piece. Paul got some time to sing with the other 2 basses to learn the gist of the part before 3 of us were picked (I was one of these 3) to sing it as a quartet with Paul on bass. We were listening to see if he could hack it by carrying the part alone while blending with the rest of us. He passed muster and was welcomed into the choir.

Funny thing happened next. Right after Paul proved his worth to the group, this other guy walks in to the rehearsal about 20 minutes late. He came to audition for the same position, but since it had JUST been filled within the last 5 minutes, he was sent on his way. It was actually kind of awkward for all of us. I sometimes wonder what delayed this guy's arrival. If he had been on time, would he have beaten Paul out of that spot in the choir? Would he have stood next to me and developed a deep burning crush for me over the course of that school year? (Hahaha!) Actually, I mostly wonder if the Lord would have found some other way for Paul and I to meet and get to know each other.

We'll NEVER know!

But to whoever you are, dear late guy, I want to thank you for stopping in the hall to flirt with that girl in your apartment complex, or for grabbing a quick open-faced peanut butter/jelly sandwich from The Hub before coming upstairs in the Taggart Student Center and potentially ruining my life's happiness! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I owe you one!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Still slacking off

I truly have GREAT intentions to post awesome things on this blog of mine. Unfortunately, anytime I think about posting something awesome, I realize, this is going to take me a lot of time, and if I'm going to watch my favorite show of the evening before going to bed tonight, I'd better wait until later.

So, I'll just tell you some of the topics of some of these awesome blog posts that haven't been (and may not be) written yet.

One is the family temple session we had with Paul's family last weekend on Saturday. Our little twin brothers received their endowment and EVERYONE was able to be there. Those with a most intimate knowledge of the family understand the significance of this. It was a beautiful and wonderful blessing to be there together.

Another is about some thoughts I've had about the Church and how for a little while, I was trying to understand if some things I've always considered black and white, may indeed have some shades of gray. But then was reminded that at least for me, most things are still pretty black and white. This one would take a LOT of work, so it may never happen. Sorry Sanford... it's just easier to post about how my toddler got sick this week and was up almost all night last night!

Next is the story of how my little family came to be. On her blog, a friend from college is walking us through her story of meeting to marrying her husband, and it's very charming. But then I'm also thinking, does Paul really want me to share my version of this story with the blogosphere, and would the majority of the blogosphere that finds its way to my blog even remotely care? I'm tempted to do it anyway because the 10 year anniversary of my sweetie proposing to me is coming up next Thursday. I think it's an interesting story with some unexpected twists and turns, but others may see it differently.

Another is about how Paul and I have been talking and learning more about the economy, future/emergency preparedness, food storage, and emergency funds recently. This post will allude to us being in the market for a gun, canned vegetables, and silver.

Lastly, I'm planning on posting about how we're at the threshold of some pretty significant changes to the structure of our lives right now. To give you a sneak peek, Paul put in his 2-weeks notice to the state today. Ahhhh! Needless to say, I rescheduled next month's dentist appointments for the kids to this next Monday.

So, yes, there hasn't been much happening over here lately, and it's because I've been doing maintenence on my well-paved road to hell. Any thoughts? Any recommendations or preferences for which ones to tackle first!?! I'm dying for some comments... I just haven't been feeling the bloggity love lately!