Monday, October 27, 2014

Angels Landing

I had the opportunity to go on a once in a lifetime trip October 12-19th. It was amazing. My uncle Lou planned the trip and when I saw that it fell on my fall break (Thursday and Friday off of school) I invited myself along. It meant I took three personal days, which costs me some money, but it was worth it. Lou had just read about Walters Wiggles on Angels Landing in Backpacker Magazine and so he asked if that was a doable stop. Heck yes! I love Angels Landing. On Monday the 13th we entered Zion's National Park for the beginning of a week long adventure.

Before the hike. So excited to be out of the car. Me, My uncle Lou, and cousin Cody ready some fun.
The hike is 5.4 miles. There is a little more than  2 miles of relatively steep in the sun uphill switchbacks and then around a 1/2 mile of hiking on crazy cliffs over looking 3,000 to 4,000 foot drop offs. Like straight down drop offs. It is pretty crazy.
 Cody took a ton of pictures. I can't wait to see his. Here he is before the last 1/2 mile taking in the view.

This picture below is what you climb up to get to the top. It really does not show how far you would fall if you slipped off the edge.
 In my head the top of the rock was more flat. I was surprised when I got to the top. It was very different than I remembered. The views were just as amazing though!
Of course I had to take some selfie's on top. (Some day I will have kids and will hopefully never post a selfie again:)

I love the reflection in my glasses.
This next one is actually before the top.  I love my job but man you can't complain when this is your view on a Monday!
 The three of us on the top. I was really proud of Cody. He does not like heights. He was very cautious and not loving life on the way up or down, but he did it.
We could not have asked for better weather. It was a gorgeous day, very few people, and amazing views. It really is a long way down. Lou said it was one of the best hikes he has ever done, that is coming from a 67 year old man who has done a lot of hiking.
This was a great start to our week long trip. Unfortunately we did not have time to do anything else in Zion's. After Angel's Landing we headed to Flagstaff where we were staying for the night.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pondering and life

I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted on my blog. I have been having a great fall but have obviously failed to document it. I am going to try and catch up here before posting the pictures from my trip last week.

I have been pondering over a talk from General Conference the past two weeks. Before my fall break I listened to the Priesthood session of conference while cleaning my house. I loved Elder Quentin L. Cooks talk. He talked about a lot of different stuff. One paragraph from his talk has left me thinking a lot the past two weeks. It is this one:

Elder David A. Bednar recently cautioned members to be authentic in the use of social media.11 A prominent thought leader, Arthur C. Brooks, has emphasized this point. He observes that when using social media, we tend to broadcast the smiling details of our lives but not the hard times at school or work. We portray an incomplete life—sometimes in a self-aggrandizing or fake way. We share this life, and then we consume the “almost exclusively … fake lives of [our] social media ‘friends.’” Brooks asserts, “How could it not make you feel worse to spend part of your time pretending to be happier than you are, and the other part of your time seeing how much happier others seem to be than you?”12

I realize that I am very good at broadcasting the smiling details of my life. Often I don't talk much about the things that disturb me, or make me sad, or cause me to lose sleep at night. I hope that too my very few readers my life does not seem fake. I love to share my adventures. Usually my posts are motivated by pictures. Pictures I want printed in my blog book, it seems to be the only pictures I print right now:( So I thought I should fill in some of the holes. My life is pretty mundane usually. I wake up and run 3-4 miles 5 days a week, I am very consistent with this. My dog needs exercise. I work. I like my job. I love my co-workers. I have bad days. I have days when parents are hard, students are hard, and sometimes co-workers are hard. Most days are great at work but it isn't a fairy tale. It is still work. Outside of work I love to read, I love to hike, bike and rollerblade. I clean my house at least once a week. I do laundry. I cook. I try to make healthy decisions with food, I fail at this often. I try to read my scriptures and pray everyday, I am far from perfect on this one too. I go to bed before 11 on school nights...so boring!  I am more aware of my weaknesses than I ever have been. I keep a thankful journal and I will say it is usually pretty easy to find three things to be thankful for each day. Occasionally I have a really bad day and I have to rely on the generic responses: job, house, family. Those are all really important but usually I can find three other things.

I have desires and hopes for the future. There are things I want so bad it hurts. But the truth is as much as I want these things I realize how blessed my life is. I usually do not focus on what I don't have. The older I get the more grateful I am for my specific blessings. The more I realize the Lord knows LaNell Brown and He knows what she needs.

I lose sleep over trials in the lives of friends and family. Trials in the lives of my neighbors. The hard lives that some of my students face and knowing I have no way to really help them. I lose sleep every time someone I know gets a divorce. I believe in Families!!!!! I just want everyone to be happy. The truth is life is hard and messy and most of us are just doing our best to get by. So that is what I have been pondering the past two weeks.

Now that I cleared the air here are a few pictures of what I have been doing the past month.

Biking in a massive rain storm. Then realizing we were already drenched so just continuing on.

 I let these two come over.
 Hiking the Y with Moki. She is practicing her sit stay. The leash was on the ground. She is getting better.
 Andrew loves to play in Moki's crate.
I put together some fall decorations. I like how they turned out!
 Moki on the Y trail on a different day. The first signs of fall.
  I ran in the Make A Wish run that our school organizes. Moki loves 5K's!
 And one teaser from last weeks trip. Man it was amazing but my body is still so tired and trying to recover.
Obviously there will be more pictures to come along with way too many details.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The current heat wave

Holy cow. As school was starting it rained everyday for three weeks straight. Now we have a major heat wave. It is HOT! Like I would swim everyday if I had access to a pool hot. This weather is crazy. My fear is that one day it will be 90 degrees and the next it will be 40 degrees. That is how it goes in Utah it seems. I have still been enjoying the outdoors, just have to wait until 6pm to workout in the heat.

I have been rollerblading a lot the past two weeks. It has been fun to switch up my exercise. I forgot how much I love it. I let Moki off the leash to swim when we Rollerblade because she has to work so hard.
 Some random dog followed us the entire time one night. He even jumped in my car after. I was like....oh no you didn't!!!!!!

The trails are beautiful this time of year.
 Probably should not have attempted a picture while moving. I am happy to report I didn't crash!
 Made it up to Bridal Veil Falls from the Riverwoods. That was quite the workout. It was beautiful though. Going back to the car was all downhill.
Last weekend was a whirlwind. I cleaned and did laundry on Friday so I could have time to play the rest of the weekend. I also decorated for fall. It was a good decision because the rest of the weekend was busy. Saturday I went to the temple, rollerbladed, biked, did Moki's dog class and then headed to Sam and Amanda's to get some Andrew time. That boy is the best. He is at such an enjoyable age and I love spending time with him. I actually had planned to spend the whole weekend up in Murray but I went out to get my bag of clothes and toiletries and realized I left them on my couch in Provo. SUPER LAME! Glad I got to spend Saturday evening with them though.
 Good times. BYU played during my bike ride and dog class but I supported them by wearing my BYU game shirt all day. And they won.
 On Sunday all of Utah got to participate in the Ogden Temple Re-dedication. It was an amazing service. It was also amazing to have no other meetings and church for an hour and a half.....did I just say that out loud. I loved the dedication though. The temple is beautiful! Here is a before and after picture.
During the dedication there is an opportunity for the audience to participate in the Hosanna Shout. I realized I really didn't know what Hosanna meant. I went home and looked it up. On www.lds.org it says:
A word from Hebrew that means “please save us” and is used in praise and supplication.
At the Feast of Tabernacles, which celebrated the Lord’s deliverance of Israel into the promised land, people chanted the words of Psalm 118 and waved palm branches. At the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the multitudes cried “Hosanna” and spread palm branches for Jesus to ride upon, thus demonstrating their understanding that Jesus was the same Lord who had delivered Israel anciently (Ps. 118:25–26; Matt. 21:9, 15; Mark 11:9–10; John 12:13). These people recognized Christ as the long-awaited Messiah. The word Hosanna has become a celebration of the Messiah in all ages (1 Ne. 11:6; 3 Ne. 11:14–17). The hosanna shout was included in the dedication of the Kirtland Temple (D&C 109:79) and is now a part of the dedication of modern temples.

I really appreciated this description. I love that we are asking/begging the Messiah to save us. The part I love the most is that in the temple ordinances are performed that can save us. Our sins can be forgiven and we learn how to live to be able to be in God's presence again someday. In these holy walls families are sealed for all eternity. I can't think of a more precious gift other than the gift of the atonement from the Savior. 

I loved being able to use my white handkerchief that I received on my mission. I had no idea how many temple dedications I would get to be a part of in my lifetime when I received this gift from my mission president and his wife.
It is a visual reminder of a very special time in my life when I served the Lord for 18 months. I can't believe that time was so long ago.

Dan has been trying to organize a game night with the siblings that live in Utah for a while. Last night it finally happened. It was lots of fun. We ended up not playing games but we ate food and visited.

Andrew was being so funny and cute at the restaurant. 
 Anthony looked like he was missing some teeth for a while.
 One more of Andrew and his mom.
 It is always nice to be able to spend time with family. Andrew discovered sidewalk chalk last night and we spent a lot of time drawing outside.

This morning when I headed to work Moki looked like this.....
 When I picked her up from the groomers she looked like this:
Not really the look I was hoping for but oh well. The good news is she will not need a hair cut for a long time. She also will not be too hot. The bad news is she looks ugly and underfed. She doesn't seem to mind though. Luckily her hair grows really fast.

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's Friday

I am back to living the life when the weekend really means something. To me it means one day to sleep in, try to recover, and not eat too much CRAP! Oh and do laundry, clean, try to go to the temple and lots of other things. The beginning of the year is just so exhausting. I am pretty sure I say that every year in August/September. Wednesday it was over 90 degrees, I didn't have a prep, I had to bike home. Yeah it was a long day. But hey now it's the weekend.

Moki is doing some serious dog training. In the beginning it was super stressful, now she is handling it like a champ. We are halfway through and she is doing great.
 In fact yesterday morning after our jog and her breakfast she walked right into her crate and laid down. She is learning the rules and not rebelling. She never whines in the night anymore either. These pictures of her are her last night of freedom before the training started.
 I have been so afraid of signing up for things. I have this fear of commitment all of a sudden. Pathetic and weird. The thought of having a time commitment every Saturday for six weeks seemed horrible but it has been good. There are a couple of classes I want to take so hopefully this will help me get over my reservations.

I think I have biked 9 of the 13 school days so far. Not bad. It is so hard to get on my bike in the mornings. I always feel great when I do it but man I am not a morning person, understatement of the year. I seriously am a grouch when I wake up to an alarm. I hate it. I wake at 5:45 run 3-4 miles with Moki and then bike to work. That is exhausting and so I am happy I have biked so much. And by the time I get to school I am over my grouchiness when I have been awake that long.
 I am now trying to ween myself off daily naps. I think I made it one day last week and two days this week without a nap. Once it cools down it will be a little less exhausting.
  Moki seems to not mind my nap time. Here is a picture of her practicing staying in a place with distractions. She is not perfect but she has improved so much.
I am in love with my nieces and nephews, in case you didn't know. This guy is so fun to be around. I am an addict. It is like I can't get enough of him. He brightens my day every time I see him. He is so smart and so fun!
Then I got to skype with Olivia last night. Man I love this girl. Braxton was in bed so I missed him. She is getting so much better at skyping. She sang me songs, told me about school, and just made me smile with her excitement. Seriously love her and her brother too.
On Tuesday when I was jogging there was a little incident. One minute I was jogging and the next minute I was flat on my face. Not an exaggeration. It was crazy. I seriously still am not sure how it happened. I didn't feel myself trip or anything. Moki was behind me, it was dark, and the sidewalk had a two inch lip right where my feet were but still I am not sure what caused the fall. Initially my stomach hurt the most because my shirt came up enough to scrape my belly. I was running with a friend and she offered to walk. I refused. I needed to run so I didn't cry from embarrassment and frustration. In the end my knees are both scraped up and really bruised. My stomach had some scrapes and my pubic bone is super sore. That must have been the place of initial contact because it hurts. Although it is feeling better today and my knees are feeling worse. Finally last night and tonight I caved and took some ibuprofen. So here are my knees. This first picture was during the school day on Tuesday. My knees were a little swollen and a little scraped up.
 This next picture is today, three days later. They look much worse.
Hopefully they start to feel better tommorrow.

While I have enjoyed blogging I should be preparing my lesson. I am having such a hard time deciding on a topic to teach. I love teaching, especially in Relief Society, but picking my own topic is so hard. So yeah tomorrow is going to be a long day if I can't get this figured out.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Party until the end

I was working really hard to make the best of my summer. I wanted to get the most out of it. Tuesday I had an opportunity to take my nephew Andrew to the zoo. I was really excited to take him because he knows all the animals and all the animal sounds. We practiced all of them on the way to the zoo. We had a good time but I think he was looking for his mom the entire time. He was not as care free as he normally is and I had to work hard to get him to smile. Monkeys!
 Andrew loves drums. He was instantly drawn to the children using the instruments. He was being really shy so I didn't know if he would take a turn.
 He finally did but he was very serious the entire time.
He loved the elephant show.
 Giraffes. So many pictures of Andrews head!
 Finally got a smile out of him with a selfie.
The Seals tank was getting cleaned. Andrew enjoyed waving at the scuba diver.
  He loved this ball that spins and has water on it.
I loved spending a couple of hours with this cutie. After we went to Wendy's and had lunch. So glad Amanda and Sam parted with him for a little while.
 I am still dog sitting Titan. Moki has seriously been in doggie heaven. Two dogs on my bed is way too many if you were wondering.
Before heading back to work I got my eyes checked. I have never had that done outside of free exams at work and school. My vision is fine, which I was expecting, but I wanted to have a doctor in place that I know and like. I went to one of my former athletes and students dad. He was awesome. It was really interesting all the different tests he ran. Then my eyes were dilated for a really long time.
 I had to go back to work on Thursday. Not only did we work all day but we also had back to school night. Crazy. I was worn out by the end. Meetings are hard for me but I love meeting all my students at back to school night. My gym looks amazing right now.

I kind of consider it my gym....even though it obviously is not. I can't believe I am starting my tenth year of teaching. Holy cow where does time go?

Today I hiked Silver Lake. This is one of my favorite hikes. It is 4.4 miles. Not too strenuous and has amazing views. The dogs were in heaven. This is the view looking down from the lake.
This is the view looking at the lake.
 Rachelle, a fellow teacher, joined me on the excursion. The dogs loved swimming.
 I didn't know if Titan had ever swam but he proved to be a champion!
 The dogs were worn out after and were snuggling on the way home. Moki will be so said when Titan goes home.

 Fun way to spend a Saturday.
I also signed Moki up for basic dog training classes through a trainer. I have been wanting to do it for a while but just have not wanted a Saturday commitment. Today I went to the first class. It was an owners only class. Moki is going to have a rough go for a while. There are tons of rules for the dogs even while at home. She is going to HATE them!! Let's be honest it is going to be rough on me too. I am excited to get better behavior out of her though. In the end I know she will be happier this way.