Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Central

Well, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. At least in our guest bedroom which has no actual bed. However, that has not deterred five guests from staying with us anyway.

Even my husband looked in and exclaimed, "Oh, Cute!"

All I did was cut the tops off last year's Christmas cards and stick them onto the bags. Cuz I'm cheap like that. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. I'm so glad to have my student gifts ready to go.

So, we've been saving random boxes for Christmas gift wrapping and I've been looking through our supplies: wrapping paper, tissue, ribbons, and gift bags. I'm mainly posting because I just wanted to capture the way my darling husband goes about wrapping. He buys my gifts and then he buys the largest gift bag he can find (seriously, you could fit like three dogs in one bag), and then he shoves them all into the bag, and writes "Sweetie" on the tag. I adore him. I then use these giant gift bags to store wrapping supplies. Currently I have a giant bag from last Christmas and one from my birthday in the summer. He has picked up on my reuse/recycle habit and has been known to empty an entire giant gift bag of all its contents to shove new presents inside (without needing to write "Sweetie" again). I love this man more than I can say. He gets the job done.

I have not left the house since we hauled groceries in from Costco on Wednesday. I have accomplished so much within the walls of our own home! I have so much I need to accomplish outside the walls of our own home, but I'm just going to milk this opportunity for all it's worth because Monday is headed this way!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Recent-ish Photos

So one of my former students walked in on stilts the other day...

We went up the canyon to take a walk.

Clear Creek was cold but the kids kept their eyes on the prize while solving the ropes course.

Emma Smith and I feel the same way about our husbands. Love the "new" Church History Museum.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving just the two of us. We sat at the table my parents purchased when I was born (they bought the hutch too). We had Kyburz Raspberry Punch. And then K soundly beat me at two games of Aggravation, but let me play a third so I could at least win one.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

New Thanksgiving Tradition!

We cooked. We ate. I really did use the half cup measuring cup to portion my stuffing, potatoes, and Jell-o. It was good. I was so full.

We rested. And then...we cleaned up. But here's the new tradition. We DEEP-CLEANED the kitchen! You guys, it looks so good. We pulled the fridge out and wiped that down. We vacuumed behind the fridge and swept and mopped. We cleaned the oven. We sprayed the cleaner on the stainless steal fridge to shine it up. We bleached the sink. We swept the floor. We vacuumed the floor. We spot mopped the floor. And then we Swiffered the floor. We wiped down the chairs. We cleaned the garbage can. We Lysoled the counters. We washed the rug. We washed the dish cloths and towels. We. Did. It. All!

One of the perks of being married to a park ranger who works as a custodian in the off season is...he knows how to clean! And it went so fast with two of us! I LOVE this new tradition!

Thanksgiving Strategies

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! The mister and I are home together cooking for the two of us. We invited someone but they declined. Our anniversary was on Sunday and we've been celebrating since last Friday when I returned from Clear Creek to a bouquet of fresh flowers. On Saturday we went shopping in Park City and ate out for dinner. On Sunday we cooked ribeyes with baked potatoes. We had to work Monday and Tuesday, so our celebration paused ever so slightly, but Tuesday after work we ran away together to the Anniversary Inn. Yesterday we visited the Church History Museum and the largest Asian grocery store in Utah and picked up our wedding rings from getting cleaned and shined up at the jeweler's and then stopped off at Costco to load up! We made it home JUST in time before the wind, the snow, and the power outages seemingly everywhere around us, but we still had power.

So...this whole food thing. It's interesting. I grew up in an obese family. Both parents, all three older sisters, and both younger sisters, and me too of course...all afflicted. Sometimes our family would rally around Weight Watchers or something similar, but we all battle, and continue to battle to this very day. My husband grew up eating whatever when he wanted with a huge sweet tooth. He has never been on a diet or tried to control his intake whatsoever. One day I heard him say something like, "I haven't really had any vegetables in awhile, so I should try to eat some." And that's about it for his dieting experience.

My dermatologist told me about the ketogenic diet in October, so I'm kind of trying that, but it's not like I've been super strict. And I wake up at 4:30 a.m. to exercise. I try. I keep trying. I'm always striving to improve. My husband understands none of this. I would even call him guilty of sabotaging my attempts, "Just sleep don't need to exercise." Or, "Would you like a peanut butter truffle from Harry and David's?" He doesn't get it, but my doctor says that people who haven't been obese their entire lives just have no way of getting it. They just don't and we can't really depend on them for the type of support we need (he, his wife, his daughter, and his son have all had weight loss surgery).

Yesterday morning, the Anniversary Inn staff brought a delicious breakfast to our door and knocked. I was starving. I ate everything (my half): a delicious ham and cheese croissant (how many carbs in a croissant? I don't know...), a yogurt parfait with granola and berries (sugar, sugar), and milk and cranberry juice (K got the hot chocolate and orange juice). After the museum, we went to Crown Burger, another challenge. I did order a cheeseburger, but no fries, and I always drink water. I did not eat the bun, just the meat and the cheese. I did eat one single French fry thanks to K's generosity, but I consider that to be a bad choice. And that leads us up to dinner.

Dinner was a fend-for-yourself-affair. I ended up eating some macadamia nuts and some chicken noodle soup. K made Loaded Bake Potato soup from Progresso, but he doctored it up with leftover baked potato from Sunday, some summer sausage he sliced up, and some grated cheese. He also had a plate of the leftover Suddenly Salad pasta he made earlier this week along with the remainder of the summer sausage he sliced up along with two large slices of provolone. Either the plate alone or the bowl alone would have been a meal in and of itself. I'm not usually the Food Police, but I had a weak moment and asked about it. His reply? "Stuff needs to be used up." I pushed harder saying, "But we've had a lot of food today...that whole big breakfast, lunch at Crown Burger...?" And he said, "I know. I'm trying to stretch out my stomach so I can really eat a lot tomorrow."

Well. This was news to me. I'm always trying to figure out ways to keep myself FROM eating a lot on Thanksgiving. For example, this morning's breakfast was a large green salad packed with veggies. I'm drinking a ton of water. I plan to measure most of my Thanksgiving foods with a half cup measuring cup. I plan to wrap a lot of presents today to keep my hands busy. I'm brushing, flossing, and rinsing after meals and I have chewing gum in good supply. I stepped on the scales again this morning. I have strategies!

He has a strategy too--to stuff as much Thanksgiving Dinner as humanly possible into his belly.

I'll probably die before he does.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Milestones for Twelve Years of Marriage

Today is our TWELFTH Wedding Anniversary!!!

When we got engaged (you've probably heard me say this before), I was so blissfully happy that I immediately began to suspect one of would die before we could make it to our wedding day, because I couldn't believe it was possible to be this happy. Surely, it wasn't allowed, and someone or something was certain to take it from me. It didn't help that the mister decided he needed to climb the face of Mount Timpanogos, alone, and that he wasn't at the trail head at the appointed time for me to pick him up. However, neither of us has died yet, and obviously, we don't know when and how that will play out, but for now, I'm thrilled to report that we have been happily married for twelve years! We have all Eternity to go!

That picture of us at Temple Square is a couple years old (probably 2013). I found it on my husband's phone. And the miles on our car photo is recent, within the last month.

I've noticed on Facebook that folks frequently post about their anniversaries by making a short list of their major life events (2 homes, 3 kids, etc.). Well, I'm not going to clog up Facebook doing that, but in case the fifteen of you who follow me are interested at all, I've made a list of some of our milestones in the last twelve years. I'll just "clog the blog" instead of Facebook!

0 Children (our greatest pain, loss, emptiness, heartbreak, and sadness)

1 Couch (time for something new?)

2 New Cars (as you can tell from the photo, we buy them brand new and make them last)

3 NPS Employments (Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Golden Spike National Historic Site, and Yellowstone National Park)

4 Miscarriages (all of our pregnancies began the good old-fashioned way and each survived a bit longer than the one prior, which made each crash all the more devastating)

5 Homes (Pleasant Springs, Andes Apartments, Quarters 709B, Quarters 707A, and Town Center Condos)

6 Pounds Heavier (can't speak for the mister, but I stepped on the scales this morning and noted that I weigh only six pounds more than I did on our wedding day...which a lot of people cannot I've gained a half a pound for each year of marriage)

7 Surgeries (two for him--gall bladder and hernia, five for me--two feet, two arm/hand, and one knee)

8 Pairs of Keens (we hike a lot)

9 Jobs (two for me--teaching and park ranger, seven for him--ranger at three parks, ski resort, custodian, Budget Rent-a-Car, and car auction)

10 Church Callings (three for him--home teacher, ward finance clerk, ward librarian, and seven for me--visiting teacher, Relief Society teacher, Gospel Doctrine teacher, counselor in RS presidency, stake nursery leader, counselor in stake Primary, and stake Primary president...which includes Cub Scout Unit Commissioner)

11 Temples in Other States (maybe more? Oakland, San Diego, Mesa, Billings, Idaho Falls, Washington D.C., Houston, Las Vegas, Chicago, Sacramento...probably more)

12 Years of Happiness with My Eternal Companion (growing pains, yes, but so much joy, and nobody takes to heart that little phrase in the Family Proclamation regarding "wholesome family recreation" like my sweetie does!)

He left a card for me on the kitchen table last night after I went to bed. I haven't opened it yet, but the envelope says, "The Sweetest Girl." I am so blessed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Voting for Mrs. Kyburz

I was gone one morning when the kids had library and the librarian had them fill out some voting slips in preparation for Election Day (she did this for all the teachers). Well, allow me to preserve these kind thoughts right here on the blog and please pardon the self-aggrandizement. Did I spell that correctly?

She is so nice and someone who is nice would be a good president.

She likes reading.

I would vote for Mrs. Kyburz because she would listen to people.

She is fun and is a good listener. She's also nice and good at teaching us.

She likes to read. She likes to play outside.

She likes the wilderness and takes care of it.

She is the nicest, awesomest, and the most book loving teacher in the USA.

She keeps us on task and makes us laugh!

She would be great in the White House.

She listens, is very strict, and lets us do fun things.

She is better than the real candidates.

She is smart, responsible, nice, and works hard.

She takes responsibility.

She would make schools better.

She is smart, kind, and helpful.

She tells awesome stories.

She cares about people and kids and would want everyone to learn and she would be committed to her job.

She is kind, loving, respectful, and also responsible, good listener, and very caring. And she also loves to travel. That is why I would vote for Mrs. Kyburz for president.

She is a good person and a good listener. She is a good traveler so Washington, D.C. would not be a problem.

She is awesome. She teaches us really good things. I have learned a lot already. She shows us how to do our homework. She is an awesome person. I think it would be cool to have her as a president.

She likes to read, she's kind, hardworking, and great. She's very prepared. I think she would be amazing.

She's traveled across America. She is nice, funny, kind, and she is honest. She will also make a good president because she is an amazing teacher and she could make people smart and she could help a lot of people.

She likes to hear reasons on why you think something (your opinion).

I think she would be a good president because she listens and waits her turn to talk.

She is always a good sport and I love her laugh because it is so cute! And she is so nice to everybody!

She would make National Reading Day.

Well, there you have it folks, my qualifications for president. Don't worry, I don't even want to be a principal, let alone president. I'm already a stake Primary president and that's more than I can actually handle at the moment.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Casa Grande National Monument

Some Spanish explorer stumbled upon this place out in the middle of the desert and said, "Whoa."

The doors and windows are placed specifically to align with the soltices and some other astronomical events. One guess is that it was used as an observatory in addition to a home. For some reason I had a very strong feeling that it served as a temple--used for some time of spiritual worship or religion. Just my feeling. No proof.

Mesa Arizona LDS Temple

We headed to the Mesa Temple to do sealings. What a beautiful place! We had a wonderful, spiritual, lovely time and I'm so thankful I have a husband who likes to attend the temple. He even cleaned our temple a week or two ago...from 10 p.m.-12 a.m. (no way could I stay up that late and teach school the next day). It was a beautiful end to a beautiful day of learning and memory-making.

Tonto National Monument

Tonto was my favorite of all 8 NPS sites we visited in Arizona over Fall Break. I think I connected to the land because the trail is steep and strenuous (but only a third the length of the Timpanogos Cave Trail) and it leads up to a limestone cave (cave!) in which the ancients built their dwelling. The other thing that grabbed my heart was all the stately, noble, enchanting, mesmerizing saguaro cacti. Yes, charmed by a cactus!

Seriously, while we were driving toward Tonto, we began to see the saguaro. We were both "oohing" and "aahing" over them. And then we got to hike amongst them! Did you know that a saguaro spends the first 75 years of it's life just growing straight? Only then can it think about branching out. So these cacti are 200-300 years old (or older!).

After Tonto we drove a narrow dirt road called the Apache Trail for 44 miles. When we came out at the other side, we found a stinky vault toilet in which to change clothes for our next outing.

Toozigoot National Monument

The museum at Toozigoot's Visitor Center had a very nice collection. The pottery was stunning!

Montezuma Castle

Most impressive multi-family cliff dwelling. HUGE! And that tree bark is from the Arizona Giant, a member of the Sycamore family...looks like desert camo!

Husband Bashing

I'm not really bashing my husband. This is merely something common among women through the ages, I believe.

So far this morning I've gone to the temple to be baptized and confirmed by proxy for one of my own direct ancestors as well as for five female names for Brother So-and-So. I came home and changed clothes in order to work out at the rec center for 36 minutes. I've had breakfast, read the Book of Mormon, and have started a load of laundry. I'm now blogging. My husband is still sleeping.

He thinks he knows, but he doesn't really know how much I pack into one day.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Montezuma Well...Prime Real Estate!

Montezuma Well is part of Montezuma Castle, but you have to drive between the two sites. There's this huge spring in the middle of the desert with millions and millions of gallons of fresh water know, it was all the rage and naturally folks built their homes right there to ensure they could monitor their water rights. Impressive. Also, some ruins are obvious, but others look like a pile of rocks until you take a second glance and suddenly realize...this used to be someone's home.