Monday, November 10, 2014

To Idaho

I had written this post in my head the other night. It had a different title and a different message. But tonight, as I've wrestled with the words, my heart needed to say something else. So this post, Idaho, is for you:

Riding Sundance with my dad leading the reins, my tiny legs barely cresting the saddle,
Then moving up to Charger; dumb, but still gentle enough to attempt a steady trot.
Finally moving on to Judy, who could run through the mountain roads like the wind, leaving me terrified and exhilarated at the same time.
Roaming the mountains on horses, and on foot;
Shortcuts with Wes, most we regretted.
Staring across the valley to mountains in the distance that looked like the perfect painting, the Salmon River like a child's drawing etched into the valley.
Looking up at billions of stars so close and so bright, with no city lights to dim their brilliance.
Listening to Uncle Ed and Rex tell stories and share their words of wisdom.
Volleyball games and camp outs on the big lawn at the ranch with cousins
Three-wheel carts and Williams Lake
Watching early morning mist settle on the Sawtooths as the sun started to rise, then hiking for hours with Nancy through their beautiful trails.
Taking road trips, getting lost, getting found.
Camping by the calm waters of the Snake, water skiing, river rafting.
Sleepovers with "weekend roomies" while I came up to see my love.
The anticipation and acceptance of a proposal.
A Lava "hot date" with the man of my dreams.
And soon, the conclusion of a long journey. The end of one road, the beginning of another...

Idaho, you have never been my home, but you have always been a beautiful piece of my soul.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My last Disney post... for now

After lots of interviewing and waiting, I was offered my new job on Friday, July 25th. Brad and I were ecstatic, and spent the weekend celebrating before I took off for basically a month to finish up my onsite trips for Accelas, and get started at HireVue. We reunited in Orlando for a week together before he did his Disney hours and I went back to Utah for another few weeks of training.

Brad and I spent 4 nights in the Port Orleans Disney Resort, and we spent most of that time together with no interruptions, just enjoying time together. Then the last half of the week was spent on the other side of the city with as many of our Orlando friends as we could connect with in a few short days. For the first time in what feels like forever I just vacationed with no computer, no job related obligations, and no stress about money because I had a job home waiting for me. I was more relaxed than I have been in years, and it was heavenly!

I've included pictures of some of our favorite memories of the trip. Enjoy!

Brad and I in front of Everest. One of our favorite rides

Waiting for the bus to the Magic Kingdom

On the boat ride to Downtown Disney. We were matchy-matchy in our Ragnar shirts

Wish I would have taken more pictures of our resort. We got up and ran a couple of mornings because we couldn't let an amazing jogging trail and beautiful scenery go to waste! The resort was really incredible. I could have stayed there for weeks without even leaving the property. 

On the ferry to the Magic Kingdom with Ethan and Grayson

Little Miss Miriam who melted my heart over and over. And I'm pretty positive she was saying "Ray Ray" before we left.We got some good bonding time in.

Riding Dumbo

Brad hanging out with Miriam

One of my favorite pictures. I love that she already knows exactly what to do with my headphones!

Sweet little Landon. This guy has gotten SO BIG!! He managed to chat it up with me the whole drive home that night while all his other siblings were passed out. 

Brad, Makayla, and Hannah dancing it up at our bbq. It was so fun to hang out with such great friends!

With with my bestie Andrea and the boys. These are my adopted little nephews and they are all growing up so fast! I'm so excited we'll get to be back with them soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A "Swimming Lesson". . . literally.

Getting ready for riding some waves

I need to start this by saying I feel like a pretty courageous and adventurous person. So it's a little hard to admit that I had some major anxiety about a WATER PARK visit, but the lesson learned was valuable, so here you go:

It turns out that in general I have a little bit of anxiety about being in water and not having 110% control of my situation. I will hop in a lake on a wave runner or ride a wakeboard behind a boat (in Utah where there are no gators in the water), but I'm out when it comes to river rafting and the waves get me a little anxious at the beach. I think some of this may have to do with getting older, and therefore more cautious. But I didn't realize just how anxious I've become until Brad and I spent a day at the Typhoon Lagoon water park at Disney World last month. His favorite thing at the park is the wave pool, where every 90 seconds a GIANT wave pushes it's way toward the "beach".

Brad wanted to swim right out to the deep end to catch the front of the wave. He promised me it was much better in the deep end and asked me to at least swim out once with him. I was surprisingly nervous about this idea. My biggest fear was getting caught in the wave right in the middle of the pool where it was strongest. We slowly worked our way into deeper water, and finally I gathered my courage, waited for one last wave to come by, and swam for all I was worth to get to the deep end before the next wave was released. I was out of breath and nervous. I waited for Brad's word and paddled again with all my might as I rose up gently in the swell of the wave, and settled back down in calmer waters. You'll notice I said gently, but the second we came back down I was swimming back to the shallow end as fast as my body would take me. I still felt out of breath and the fact that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought was not enough to keep me there.

Brad figured I needed a break and sweetly offered to take a cruise in the lazy river which was much more my style. We lounged in the river, ate a snack, and eventually headed back to the wave pool again. I couldn't bring myself to do it. I just couldn't. So I sent Brad out on his own, wanting him to have a good time, even though I was a pretty lame water park buddy.

I sat along the edge of the water for a bit, and eventually waded into the shallow water, all the while feeling really pretty lame. I knew that there was nothing unsafe about being in the water and that I was letting my fear get the best of me. But every time I started to venture a little deeper, I turned back. I kept waiting for the next wave and thinking I'd try to make it out to Brad. I could see him out there and I knew if I could get to him I would be fine.

I mustered up my courage and started swimming toward him just after a wave came through. I paddled hard and was 50 feet from my goal when my "flight" instinct kicked in and I turned around to head back to "safety". Just as I started paddling I heard the dreaded "WHOOSH" of the wave and I realized that because I turned around I was in the exact place I did NOT want to be. The wave would hit me right at it's most powerful point. All I could do was paddle and let it come. And you know what? It came and went. And I didn't die. In fact, it really wasn't terrible at all.

I gathered my courage and was going to try again as Brad started heading toward shore. When he realized I was coming to him he was so excited! He took me by the hand (literally and then figuratively since it would have been hard to swim that way) and together we rode the next wave, and the next wave, and the next. From the deep end. And it was AMAZING!!! I loved it! I just needed to let go of my fear, trust my swimming skills, and trust Brad's confidence in me. I had a blast, but more importantly I also felt incredible joy for not letting my fear keep me down.

Proof we survived the rough waters 

I'd like to think I've already made a decent point about overcoming my fears. But the full lesson came full circle for me just last weekend.

I started a new job recently that includes taking on some new challenges. I am thrilled with the opportunity, and I know that I have the skills and the creativity to be successful, but taking on something new brings out all kinds of anxieties and insecurities and in actuality, lately I have felt numb more than anything. I started pouring out my feelings to Brad last Saturday night (I know, what a fun date night topic), and I told him I'm incredibly grateful for all that the Lord has blessed us with, but I think it all feels temporary, and that the other shoe may drop at any moment and I'm afraid to accept that this could really be our life. I'm afraid I won't be good enough, or that it will all fall apart. These job insecurities seemed to be spreading to life in general, and I was having a hard time getting excited about anything.

Brad listened intently and eventually said, "I'm trying really hard not to fix this..." (might I just interject that I so appreciate that his first reaction was to just listen, even though he had a suggestion. I am a very blessed girl to have him as my best friend forever. End mushy sidebar)

"Please! Tell me how to fix it!" I said. "I am not just looking to vent. I actually would love to hear your insight!"

"So, remember how you felt when we were at Typhoon Lagoon?" he asked. And it all came to me, just like that. He, of course, helped with the analogy. But as soon as he started talking I was blown away by the fact that my fear, my numbness, my inability to get excited about the future all stemmed from the fact that I am standing in shallow water today. I just walked into the "wave pool" of a new life, and the fun part is waiting, but I have to get through those rough waters in the middle, and I have to believe I can get there, and trust that I am surrounded by those who will help me.

I'm not sitting pretty riding the calm waves yet, and it will probably take awhile. But just like that big wave didn't kill me, neither will a few rough demos while I learn my trade. I just have to enjoy the journey and take them as they come.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ragnar Northwest Passage

I'm FINALLY blogging again!! Hopefully this will last...

I can't possibly begin to go back and fill in the gaps of where life has taken Brad and I over the past 2 years so I'm not even going to try. But, there have been a few highlights that must be captured, and today I'm starting with Ragnar!

For anyone actually reading this who doesn't know, Ragnar is a relay race that spans 190-200 miles, and is completed by a team of up to 12 people. I have always been interested in participating in one, and the opportunity finally presented itself this year. Brad and I were both able to be a part of the team and it was an incredible experience! The race involves running (of course), mixed in with eating, chatting, sleeping (sort of), eating, and lots of fun. We had two vans of runners (6 in each) so each van completed 6 legs and then rested while the other van did 6 and so forth, until we finished all 36 legs. It took us about 31 hours to complete.

Ragnar was definitely the most physically challenging thing I've ever done. We basically each ran a leg (between 3 and 9ish miles) roughly every 12 hours until we were done with the race. So in just under 24 hours I ran 14 miles and Brad ran 18 miles. As challenging as it was, we were both on a runner's high for days after we finished (I also ran Ragnar in my dreams every night for days, so poor Brad got woken up at least once a night for two weeks). It was so awesome to complete a challenge I had worked hard to prepare for, and one of my favorite moments was having Trish hug me at the end and tell me how proud she was of me. No matter how old I get, I'll always be the little sister looking up to my big sis, and it felt good to work together and make her proud.

It was also so amazing to be able to run with Brad and cheer each other on. It was such a bonding experience. I love that we were able to start running together, and that we've now been able to complete two races together. We are definitely hoping we get to do it again!

We did our best to capture the essence of the "Shoe Flies" team name with our coordinating bug glasses, antennae, and socks.

Decking out the Vans for our adventure

Race Day Morning!!

Van 1 at the starting line (Christy did not realize she was missing a lens from her bug glasses)

Trish leading the charge as Runner 1

Heading out as Runner 2

Finishing Leg 1 -- Still looking happy :)

Brad and I after my first leg
Christy handing off to Brad for his first leg
Maren gearing up for her first big run!

The handoff

Brad showing off his "Kills"

The sister High Five

Handing off to Jen for her second leg

Handoff for Leg 3!!!

Brad being silly before his final leg

The Ladies and Malcom (another team's mascot)

That's right! We survived and we're proud of it!!

At the finish line with the full crew