Monday, October 20, 2014

38 x 38 - Create a Website

Last Fall, I enrolled at our local community college to earn my certificate in Web Design and Marketing. It's been 20 years since I attended school and I wasn't a shining student. But I'm older and wiser and I've been yearning to actually complete something.

So off to school I headed. It's been fun. It's been challenging - between working full-time and the kids, it's hard to find time to get my school work done.

All in all, it's been rewarding. And I've created my first website. It's hosted on our server so it's not "live" per se. . . I am not sure I'm going to actually keep it so I've got to think about that. If you'd like to see it, you can view it here.

I should get my certificate in just a few more months. And with just a couple more terms than that, I could have my degree in Business so I think I'll just continue on.

Feeling proud!

Friday, September 26, 2014

All Mixed Up and Sideways

I broke the news with you a few weeks ago that I was going to be a grandma and it's been a roller coaster of emotions since.

At first, I was so upset. Not mad but maybe a bit disappointed. My son is a senior and we've talked often over the years about doing things the "right" way.

That lasted about two seconds because...well, let's face it...there's not much I can do about it now. So then I quickly moved on to acceptance. Ok, let's make a plan.

And acceptance led to joy. I mean, c'mon, it's a baby. Marc's. Jyni's. It's family. Flesh and blood.

Joy led to dreams as I envisioned the things I would knit. The quilts I would make. The clothes I would buy. The toys I'd gift.

And then the unthinkable...Jyni started to have some troubles. Signs and symptoms I know all too well, intimately. Signs of a miscarriage.

Bam, bringing back some memories there. I had one heck of a time getting pregnant between my two boys. Actually, I got pregnant just fine. I had a hard time staying pregnant. And my heart broke each time.

So as I tried to help this young woman through it, I hurt. I know timing was terrible (senior year, 18, young, new relationship) but it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

And man, it's really hard watching Marc go through it. He's upset. He's trying to cheer her. He's just trying. But he hurts.

So I'm not going to be a grandma in April and Marc and Jyni won't be parents. And I hope they do the things they need to stay young and carefree just a little longer. There's plenty of time for grown up things...arguing over bills, being broke, doctors appointments, who's going to get up for the 2 a.m. feeding, finding babysitters, and arguing over what kind of car they want/need. Say a little prayer for my family please:)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Grandma - Say What????

I've lost track of the number of times Marc and I have had "the talk." I always figured it would be his dad that had the talk but nope, it was me. We talked STDs. We talked pregnancy. We talked love and marriage and babies and such.

I scared him. Do you want AIDS?

I explained. Pregnancy doesn't ruin your life but it sure makes it more difficult.

I took the high road. It's important to be a good boyfriend and eventually spouse.

I've shared my own struggles as a "too-young mom" - pregnant at 19, unwed.

I've been honest, straightforward.

And now I'm going to be a grandma.

My son is 18 and a senior in high school. His girlfriend is 18 and graduated in June. By the time he turns 19 and before graduation, he'll be a dad. She'll be a mom. And I'll be a 39 year old grandma.

Deep breath.

I'm not the first person in this situation but boy did I feel alone when he first told me. Of course, my initial thought was "Oh s$**" while my mouth said, "Ok, what's the plan?" Because really at this point, what else can I do? Support and love them.

And get excited. I always wanted to be a grandma (at like age 60). Instead, I will be a youthful grandma with lots of energy.

Now my role has changed a bit. Now I find myself reminding him of the responsible decisions. Don't call into work or school. You need to first, graduate and second, get to work. It's weird to guide a boy through pregnancy. It's not about how should he be eating and to keep exercising and to rest often. It's about offering support. Being a good boyfriend. Being there for her. Saving money. Making a plan.

In essence, I'm helping my son go from being a great man to being a great (basically) husband. And planning a wedding for next summer. Making room for momma to move in and baby eventually. Guiding. Mentoring. Teaching. And trying not to meddle (big surprise, I might be THAT mom).

So in essence, now that the shock has worn off. I'm thrilled. It's exciting really. It's going to be bumpy and rocky but it'll all be ok.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Back to School

Marc - first day of Senior Year
I love fall. Back to school. Football. Leaves changing. Boots. Jeans. Sweaters. Cool, crisp mornings. I love it.

This year, Marc is a senior. I teared up a little when I realized I was taking his last "first day of school" photo.
Marc has disliked school from day one and it's been a chore to get him to this point. He's so smart. Hates school. I can't wait to watch him march in his cap and gown.

Then there's Nate who absolutely loves school. He's a big 5th grader this year. Couldn't wait to see who was in his class and what his teacher was like.

Of course, Fall means that I'm spending my time with football. Awwwww, love!! While at practice, I've discovered the best hobby - knitting!!! Portable, fun, and functional!! I made a super cute Ducks colors scarf to wear to Nate's games! Go Ducks!!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Family Tradition

Sitting around the campfire. Telling stories. Eating together. Walking the woods. Hunting. This is a family tradition. I'm proud of my youngest son for carrying on. He passed his hunter safety class this past weekend.

He sat through hours of instruction, had to actually demonstrate safe gun handling, and pass a test. Of course, as a family, we've discussed gun and hunting safety often over the years.

Our community's hunter safety was full so we actually headed to the coast to make it happen. It was a great way to get out of town, celebrate the end of summer, and of course, accomplish his goal.

The field day (live demonstration) was held in a small town at a community center that had once been a school. The community has turned it into a library/community center. After an hour or so of waiting (bored), one of the organizers let me in on a secret...there was a hiking trail with falls. So I set out to see what I could discover.

Well, lo and behold... it was in fact a waterfall. These used to be a state park but the road caved in this past winter and it's shut down, barricaded. But the nice Sheriff's deputy I ran into said it was fine to park and walk up.

It was a gorgeous walk. Easy. It's fun to be somewhere different. Here in Klamath we have gorgeous pines, mountains, sagebrush....head to the coast and there's ferns, huge gigantic trees, and thick underbrush. Here in Klamath it's 90 degrees, there it's 58.

Of course, you saw my post earlier this week so you know I spent some time on the beach and at Shore Acres. On the way home, I surprised Nate with a trip to the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. My grandparents lived in Roseburg while I was growing up and a trip to the Wildlife Safari was in the cards each year. I was excited to take Nate. You can walk through a certain part and it's sort of like a zoo. And then you can drive through and even feed the animals. It's worth it if you're in the area. The pics aren't great but here are a few:
The boys pose in front of the safari bus

you know when you're taking a photo and it turns out funny???

a bear in the mud

the giraffe

These little guys came right up to the car

You could buy food to feed them

All in all it was a great trip!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Camping on the Oregon Coast

A steep and dramatic cliff overlooking a rocky shoreline. Dangerous waves washing away the rocks. A small
picturesque house and beautiful gardens blooming with roses, dahlias, bamboo, and trees. It's romantic and tragic. . . at least that's the way I've always seen it. My grandparents used to take me to Shore Acres when I was young and I always thought it was hauntingly beautiful. Gorgeous and sad.

A few years ago, I read A Gathering of Finches which is the story of Shore Acres. It affirmed the gorgeous and sad truth of the park. The woman gives up a marriage and her only child for an affair. Her affair has his own secrets. They discover money can't buy happiness. If you decide to go to Shore Acres, read the book.

At any rate, the gardens are beautiful.

 We walked through the park and Nate even stopped to smell the roses.

The house is nestled in the middle. Not huge, not pretentious, just a cute little house. There was a wedding getting ready to happen. White chairs filled the lawn, tuxedo-ed men walked in and out looking nervous, wringing their hands. Photographer was setting up equipment.

We also spent some time on the beach, going through tide pools. So fun.

We camped at Bastendorff Park which was a good place to stay. Clean. Well kept. The showers were a bit dated but we had a great spot.

And who doesn't love a good campfire....
It was a great way to wrap up a summer!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Klamath Weekend on $20

I nearly always feel that I'm a terrible mom because I can't afford big elaborate vacations. Silly right? I mean, if you as a friend were telling me that, I'd tell you that you were silly and that your kids were lucky. But yet, that's what I do....worry it over and over and over.

This year, I planned to do the Grand Canyon. Well,  it didn't happen. I've worried it over and over. And then I accepted it. My son helped.

About a month ago, I woke Marc up on a Sunday and said let's go hike. So we grabbed his girlfriend, packed some water and a few snacks and headed to Crater Lake.

Crater Lake is about 50 miles from where I live. It's in our county and is Oregon's only national park. Millions visit from around the world each year. I've gone in the winter, fall, and summer and it doesn't matter what season, it's breath-taking.

It was a gorgeous day. The lake as usual was the most brilliant blue. The skies were clear. It was very warm but not too bad. We drove around the lake, pulling over to the viewpoints and gazing down at the water.

We decided to hike to one of the waterfalls. It was beautiful and I had never been to it before.

It was there that I heard Marc telling his girlfriend how I always took him to do stuff and how awesome it was. He wasn't complaining that I don't take him on elaborate vacations...he was bragging because we go do so many cool things together. I heard him telling her that I take him to places he's never even heard of.

Hm, maybe I'm doing something right.

It helps that we live in an amazing place with lots of natural beauty as well as other things to do. Things like Crater Lake.

It helps that I work for the Chamber and so get to know some cool little things and know some pretty cool people. So when my niece and nephew came for a visit, I was able to do some pretty cool things on a very small budget.
Paige holds a 3day old ostrich

The kids hold ostrich eggs that weigh
between 3 and 4 lbs each
For example, through the Chamber, I met a woman who runs an ostrich farm. She invited us out to see the babies.

Really, how many people can say they've done that? (By the way, if you're ever in Klamath, you can do this too. Just check with the Chamber and they'll tell you all the cool stuff).

They're a funny looking bird

Then we spent a fair amount of time swimming. Our local pool is the Ella Redkey Pool. It's geothermally heated and is an outdoor pool open year round. It's gorgeous with gorgeous grounds and beautiful blue water, and a big blue slide.

The kids swimming at the Ella Redkey

We got to see a baby ostrich hatch

Then we went out to Malin to the city park. It's nestled in trees, it's a huge park, and has a great play structure. We drove out there on a Sunday and were thrilled to find they also have a pool and that it was open.
The kids at the Malin pool

Nate dives

playing in the park

 The pool was nearly empty so they kids almost had it all to themselves which they loved. The skies were dark and it rained a bit but still, they swam.

Anyway, long story short. I live in an amazing place filled with fun things to do for a small amount of money. The kids had a great time, we created some memories, and I got to see lots of smiles on their faces.

Monday, August 18, 2014

39 x 39 - My 20 Year Class Reunion

I really debated about going to my 20 year class reunion. High School wasn't a terrible time for me but it also wasn't great. I had low self-esteem. A terrible boyfriend. Struggled with my parents divorce. And almost worst of all, split my time between two high schools hours apart.

My freshman year I attended Burns High School. Home of rednecks and cowboys. I wanted to be in a city and instead, mom had moved us to Burns - population 3000-something.

My sophomore year, we moved to Prineville. Slightly bigger but still full of cowboys and rednecks. I was there my sophomore, junior, and almost my whole Senior year.

In April of my senior year, a spot of trouble (said with an English accent to make it sound cooler), had me moving back to Burns to graduate.

So to say I feel disconnected from either school would be an understatement. I am often jealous of the people who have ties with folks they went to high school with. Or the people who had an awesome high school experience. And I've learned that a great high school experience doesn't have anything to do with popularity but it has everything to do with being an active participant. My friends who played sports, were in band or drama club or dance team or mathletes - they have the best memories. Bus trips. Friendships.

I was the girl who didn't do anything. I was too self-conscious to even participate in the spirit days during our homecoming weeks. I scooted through hoping to not be noticed. I didn't get picked on or anything like that - I just didn't get noticed.

Ok, so it's been 20 years and I still have no idea how that happened. But I decided to go. I'm glad I did. It was fun even if no one knew who I was. Even though the only photo they had of me was from freshman year when I went to winter formal with Ben Hoffman and I HATE that photo.

It was fun to hear what everyone had been up to. So mark it off my list, I did it. Here's a couple of photos:

A "gorgeous" glamour shot from my junior year.

My senior photo. Great hair!

 Winter formal with Rodney my sophomore year.

The photo on my name tag was freshman year. 

Here's our group today. 

I had to make a pitstop at the High School for a photo:

 I can say I'm glad I had lost all the weight I have. Look pretty good, right?? I will say I think I've gotten better with age. LOL

It was fun and worth going to. I think I can skip any future ones. haha

Monday, May 19, 2014

39 x 39 - Be a Bridesmaid and Dance

When I added "Be a Bridesmaid" and "Dance somewhere other than my kitchen" to my list of 39 by 39, I kind of cheated. I KNEW those would happen.

My good friend and cousin Heather had asked me to be in her wedding which just so happened this last weekend.

Now when I added "Dance somewhere other than my kitchen" I actually had something bigger in mind. I'm embarrassed to admit it but I had secretly hoped to dance in our community's version of "Dancing with Your Stars." I wanted the lessons and I wanted to challenge myself to be on stage. Well...Heather's wedding ended up falling on the same weekend as Dancing with Your Stars so the wedding took priority.

I still managed to get the dancing in thanks to the reception.

Heather and Neil have been together 3 or 4 years and tied the knot at Multnomah Falls. They are a beautiful couple. They've been through a lot the last year with a botched surgery that became a nightmare. Neil has remained Heather's knight in shining armor and stood by her through it all. Heather has fought to heal and get to where she is now...with a lot of healing left to do. I think it's fitting that a waterfall would be setting for their wedding. There's something refreshing and renewing about cascading water.

Multnomah Falls plunges 620 feet in two major steps. It's the highest waterfall in Oregon and the second highest in the nation. I wish I'd had the time to take a photo of the falls because it is GORGEOUS but alas, I was super busy with some bridesmaid duties.

First order of business, hair! I got pampered. Didn't have to do a thing except show up. My part would come later when makeup and false lashes were my duties du jour:)

Me without makeup. SCARY!

Brides sans makeup...still beautiful
I did everyone's makeup. It's sort of my passion. I had ideas of taking photos of my steps but alas, no time for that. I stuck on false lashes on girls, fixed peoples blush, and then made myself presentable. Then used a few moments to take a couple selfies.
Me and bridesmaid Bethani

Me and the GORGEOUS bride
Bethani and I drank a bit too much champagne hahaha and my pictures began to digress into fish lips, duck face, and other silly selfies while we waited for the walk down the aisle.

In the meantime, my other duty was to arrange flower petals down the aisle in a swirly sort of pattern. I think I did pretty good considering the windy day.
Of course there was the usual, find the rings. Find out if we're ready yet. Walk, find the groom, come back up, lace up the brides' corset dress, help her with her boots on, reassure her that she's beautiful and everything will be perfect. Lots of reassuring.

I wish I had photos of the ceremony but I think carrying your cell phone down the aisle snapping photos is frowned upon so you get more selfies. haha
Trying to break into the second bottle of champagne. 

After the ceremony, waiting for our turn for the photographer.
We tried to get a photo of the falls behind us. 

Bethani and I and the waterfall
I danced a few dances and headed back to the hotel. It was a great time. Congrats Neil and Heather! My wedding duties are finished!! :)