Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's good to get away!

Our anniversary was 23 days ago. We were in Montana. Camping. At a family reunion. Again. Last year was the same story. So like last year, Paul and I wanted to make up for our unromantic celebration, so in a last minute decision, we ran away for 24 hours!

First off, I gotta say thanks to my gracious Mother-in-law, Rhyll, for adding three more people to her hectic home! It's a blessing to have a mom that understands, supports, and even encourages the need for couples to strengthen their relationship through some alone time. She's a gem. And I'm grateful that my boys are very well behaved when someone else is taking care of them! It makes for less guilt in enjoying some 'mommy-daddy' time without them! We have great little boys!

So what did we go and do, you ask? With so many options out there, it was tough to narrow it down. Shakespearean Festival in Cedar... Tuacahn in St. George... Park City again (that's where we went last year)... nah, let's go to Wendover and golf!

Paul, bless his dear little heart, really wants me to learn to love golf. A while back, he bought me some women's golf clubs on sale. They're shiny, and in a cute pink golf bag, and when I swing them, guess what??!?! I still miss the ball... or it goes nowhere, or directly in the bunker or whatever water hazard may be near! I try to avoid golfing with him at all costs, but occasionally, I suck it up (just because I love him so dang much) and agree to waste my afternoon getting angry at a pretty pink ball.
But 'quality time' is Paul's love language (one that I don't speak so well, of course), so in choosing the getaway, I agreed to the Wendover package because I knew he'd love it.

So, we packed up some stuff, dropped off the boys, and made the 2+ hour trek over to the booming metropolis of Wendover, Nevada for the night. We enjoyed our evening together and got up early-ish this morning for our 8:00 tee time. Considering that Wendover is in the middle of the hot desert, we thought it best to get an early start. I didn't know until we showed up in the parking lot that we were going to be playing 18 holes.

18 HOLES!!!

I usually can hardly make it through 9! I begged Paul to let me bring my Kindle along for the ride, but he said no.

I don't need to hash out today's golf experience with a play by play. We can sum it up with the fact that out of necessity, I cheat a LOT when I play golf. I stop counting my strokes somewhere around 6.5 (there are a lot of half strokes when I hit the ball and it goes less than 15 feet away from me), so after I 5-putt it, I tell Paul to just write down 8 for my score... because 14 on a par 4 is just plain humiliating. The first nine holes contained a few semi-offensive cursings, but I made it through. The back nine holes, I hardly cared enough at that point to invest in swearing. I skipped a few of those holes completely.

But what I mostly appreciated about the back nine, is that Paul let me be a slouch without giving me a bad time about giving up. It was a difficult course with several hidden water hazards and very narrow fairways. His game was struggling as well and he was tired of looking for his ball in the weeds... though he found as many balls as he'd lost while looking for them! Despite the heat and the 4 hours of GOLF, it ended up being some good "quality time" spent together with plenty of laughs and smiles intermingled with lots of slow head shaking and frustrated groans. When we were done, I posted this on facebook.

"Dear Golf, I really want to like you, and I think we have good potential for a stable relationship someday, but spending 18 holes together on a difficult course today was taking our relationship a bit too fast for me. I think we should slow things down for now and let our relationship take its course 9 holes at a time. Really, it's not you, it's me."

I thought it summed up my feelings perfectly! Obviously I love Paul very much. More than anything, I'm grateful that we made that choice 12 years ago to get married. He's my best friend and a terrific husband. I'm blessed to have a man willing to invest the time to teach me how to play a difficult game, just so we'll have more things to do together down the road. Though it's not exactly what I want to be doing, I understand and appreciate the sentiment. Love ya, babe!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Have I ever mentioned I love stamping?!

Deep breath in and... {happy sigh}!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went to the Stampin' Up! convention in Salt Lake City last weekend. It's an event in where seeing is believing. I would love to describe it all to you, or I could say, "It was AMAZING" but it just won't mean anything to you because you've never seen anything like it! I go to conferences for my Speech Therapy certification and spend a comparable amount of money, but that's the only aspect where the two can be compared! Just check out all the swag!
Cute Bag, nice pen, mini catalogs, a catalog binder, MDS digital content CD, simply sent cards, and oops, did I forget to mention 6 (SIX!!!) stamp sets?!?! All I get at an SLP conference is lunch.

That doesn't even include the beautiful make & take projects! Here's a picture of the banner and cards we didn't have time to make (so I had Emily come help me put them together on Saturday night! Thanks Em!) The shelves are cluttered so it's hard to see, but the pieces are super cute! I haven't finished the card box yet. But it's pretty too.

This year, I took advantage of all four days worth. I had a My Digital Studio (the digital scrapbooking software) class to go to on Wednesday, so since I was up there, I was able to check out the Memento Mall (their little store of souvenir goodies and such) and even check out the kick off party. I don't know what the convention center looks like for other conventions, but it's decorated to the hilt for the SU! ones. Look how beautiful the stage was!

The classes and presentations on Thursday-Saturday were just as fun and I couldn't believe all the great giveaways there were. Here's me getting a WHOLE PACKAGE of Holiday mini catalogs!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!?!?!
Obviously... I'm easy to please!

What also made the weekend fun, was that I got to spend the time with my friend, Rachelle VanBuskirk.

I met her and her mother, Zola, four years ago standing in line for the Make-n-takes. We've had a great online relationship and two fun, girl-time getaways since then for the 2009 and now the 2011 conventions. She's so easy to hang out with, and we managed to spend 3 full days together without running out of things to talk about! I also got to meet her hubby and all 6 of her boys, which was so nice since I already know so much about them through her blog! Thanks Shelly for making the time so much more special... and for finally giving me the much needed excuse to get a pedicure! My cute toes and happy feet thank you too!
You are great!

The people at SU! are master marketers! I want to help the WORLD learn how to stamp and create pretty things made out of their paper! They, of course, show us the newest products and all the things you can do with them. They display thousands of cards, boxes, scrapbook pages, decor items... (you name it) for us to photograph and gleen inspiration from. They give us a chance to feel like the customer instead of the store owner and we all just lap it up! I can't wait to show my friends the things I learned at the convention... I hope I can blow their socks off!

Ultimately though, as I was leaving and driving home, I just daydreamed of having that experience with all my friends that I've ever stamped with! The likelihood is unbelievably slim, but oooh, wouldn't that be so fun!? Why am I the only one having such a good time here? I really never intended this blog post to be a sales pitch, (and I'd hate for you to be turned off at this point) but just to let you know, it's really cheap to sign up as a demonstrator for the next two weeks! You can go to my website or to Stampin' Up!'s website and learn more about the $99 starter kit that's completely customizable! Or just come stamp with me on one of the next two Friday nights if you live close enough or are in town... Father/sons campout is coming soon!!!! I'm on a stamping high right now and think you should come and share it with me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

silencing the crickets around here

I'm not going to sleep well tonight, so I thought I might as well blog. The crickets have been chirping loudly over here and I've just let them sing on and on. Unfortunately, I'm breaking the silence with a downer of a post tonight.

This wasteland of a blog started spiraling downhill last year when one tragedy after another happened to a bunch of dear friends of ours. These painful anniversaries are starting to come around in the next few weeks and it just sucks. Though the loss of Ben, Brandon, Cody, and Brian is not a strong presence in my everyday life (Camille is still much more so), the anniversaries of their deaths (or loss in Camille's case) bring everything back. I hate knowing that my friend's hearts will be aching more than usual for the next little while as they remember those awful, painful moments. I have not been looking forward to these next 6 weeks.

And then, we got a phone call today from Paul's mom letting us know that her cousin, Scott Burnett died today in a construction accident. Now, I couldn't tell you the name of ANY of my own mother's cousins, but I know pretty much ALL of Rhyll's cousins and love them ALL (and their parents and their spouses, and kids and grandkids, and in-laws, etc)! Every year, the Burnett-Oler family holds a great reunion that oddly enough, we all want to come to. It's usually up in Montana, so we don't make it every year, but we've never missed two in a row. The Burnetts are a tightly bonded family that invest in each other. We get together often enough that when a newcomer joins the clan, it's worthwhile to bother to learn their name and get to know them, since you'll probably get to see them again next year! It's truly unusual and an incredible blessing to be a part of it all.

This year, Paul and I made a last minute decision to actually go to the reunion in Gallatin Gateway, Montana. None of the siblings were going, so we were wishy-washy about the long drive up there, but ultimately figured... "let's just go," so we did. I don't have a close relationship with Scott, but I saw him, gave him a hug and had a quick conversation with him 10 days ago. I have nothing but love for Scott's parents, Clint & Bonnie, his sweet and fun wife, Colleen, his kids, his siblings. I'm just (AGAIN) aching for the loss THEY are feeling. I hate how unpredictable life can be and how quickly it can be turned upside down in such a painful way.

I had a brief moment of fear that the rest of this summer would be like last summer and I wanted to shout out to the world, "hide yer kids, hide yer wife, and hide yer husbands too..." Please keep your loved ones close and safe. Please speak kind words of love. Please strengthen your families and your relationship with God. These are my goals for now. I need to make sure to utilize these reminders of how short and precious life is, so the Lord won't need to teach me these things in any other way.

Sorry for the emotional post. I'm headed to the Stampin' Up! convention (aka returning to the mother ship) in Salt Lake City this week, so hopefully will take the time to brighten up this place in the near future. In the meantime... (((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))). If you read my blog, chances are, you're someone I care about a lot... and I want you to know that.