Thursday, December 5, 2013


Ooh!  Can you even stand it?  I'm going to do a WHOLE post on our family vacations!! Doesn't get more fun than that!


We always try to head out on vacation right after school gets out because Spokane seems to think June is actually February and it rains and is freezing.  So everyone gets out and heads to states that know what June is supposed to feel like.

We had to leave Gabe and Ryan home so they could go to scout camp.  In the raining and freezing weather.  In tents.

Anyway,  it had all of the usual:

Visits with family (Romney and Nelson/Seeley)

Outings to the plethora of family friendly stuff that Utah offers

Lots of swimming and water outings

Fun food (including homemade ice cream sandwiches)


Adrianne and I have been friends for 25 years.  Erika and I were roomates for a few years at BYU.  Lindsay is Adrianne's sister and hilarious.  Adrianne and Lindsay took a truly awe-inspiring trip with LOTS of little kids under 6 from Arizona to Canada and were going to stay with could I not honor that little trip by doing one of my own to meet up?  (Here we are with Lindsay and Adrianne and kids):

It was SO FUN.

First of all, the drive there was breathtaking...British Columbia and Alberta cannot be be described without superlatives.  Best, prettiest, grandest.

Then our hostess had the mostest.  Beautiful house, perfectly matched up kids, willingness to feed 13 people.

Day one was a trip to Heritage Park--  a kind of historical amusement park.  Super educational, fun, lovely.

Day two was a day at the neighborhood lake.  Kayaks, islands, sand, food, talkingtalkingtalkingtalking.

Day three was a trip to downtown Calgary.  Sightseeing, famous buildings (Calgary tower...plexiglass floor--yikes and Olympic Village), native food (Poutine).

Every night, we ditched the kids (yay for 4 babysitting age kids!) and headed out to adult dinners.

And then we drove home through Banff.  You guys!  BANFF!  Probably the prettiest place I've ever seen (with the most mosquitos), where I overcome MAJOR height issues to ride the Sulphur Mountain Gondola and hiked to the top of the freaking world.

Seriously, perfect trip.

Texas/New Mexico

So, my extended family has never done the reunion thing.  This year we began to float the idea of meeting at the Albequerque Balloon's amazing and kind of halfway between all the parents and siblings.  When it became apparent it was going to actually happen, Ryan and I started planning.

It saves us about $2000 to drive rather than fly and so we choose to do's our only option if we want to have relationships with the 8 parents/siblings that live in Texas.  We crazily decided that if we were only (?) 8 hours away from the 4 Texas Romney families, we ought to leave a few days early and go see them, too.  We left on General Conference weekend in October (random reunion time that corresponds with Balloon Fiesta and people who can't get away in the summer) and drove to Billings (5 hours) Friday night

then to Fort Collins to spend a night with my cousin's family (13 hours)

then to Dallas to visit the Texas family for a day and a half  (11 hours)

It was crazy long but we listened to conference and did homework and fought and ate a lot of fast food.  Plus we LOVE those Romneys.  We swam (in October!), went to parks and caught up with new babies and fun grandparents.  When I asked my kids if the extra 15 hour detour was worth it, they cheered the loudest Yes!

We headed to Santa Fe the next day (9 hours...miscalculated the drive time) with Aunt Bekah stuffed in the overpacked car.

I was in charge of the rental house and, if I do say so myself, I did an awesome job.  Best Sante Fe vacation house ever.

The Balloon Fiesta completely lived up to expectations.

We LOVED watching all the cousins together.

We toured downtown Santa Fe (very cool old town)

Took family pictures

and hit the temple with all the siblings and my dad (Grandma Dorrie had the hard job of babysitting the million little grandkids)

It was kind of a bummer because the government shut-down happened while we were there so there a bunch of national parks we couldn't go to.

We did a family talent show that was so entertaining and sweet and a neat FHE.  Basically it was a dream family reunion.  Can't wait for the NORTHWEST family reunion in 2015 (hint, hint)

(Side note...we drove home STRAIGHT from Santa Fe.  It took 20 hours and we got home at 1 am, with a detour at the Wilson Arch in Southern Utah and In N Out with our favorite Cade and Stacy in Northern Utah).

Travelogue Done.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The deal with my knee

When I stopped blogging in April/May, I was recovering from my knee surgery.  It's too bad I didn't document a little bit more as the months passed because it was kind of a major thing for me.  I'll have to try to sum up the major details, why it was hard and what I learned.  (I'll use some instagrams to help me out here...)

Major details:

I couldn't put any weight on it for 6 weeks.  So  I crutched EVERYWHERE and it was crazy trying to be a mom on crutches.  Crutching from the car to parent teacher conferences, band performances, track meets was awful.  Super awful was grocery shopping.  I totally used the driveable little carts and looked ridiculous but I couldn't wait for Ryan to do it.  He was full enough trying to pick up the rest of my slack.
I have a love/hate relationship with these objects. One one hand, I need them to get around.  On the other hand, I need them to get around.  #braceisheavy #crutcheareexhausting

Today's spring break activity: my 5 children push my wheelchair on our favorite trail to our lunch destination--Red Robin.  #nowheelchairshame #rolereversal

Prepping for my first post-op swim! #cardiofinally!

My handicart and I are a menace.  #theaislesaretiny #pricetagsandhangersareclingingtomycart

You know what this means? It means tomorrow I can start putting weight on my my left leg! #6weekspostsurgery #walkinghereIcome #ihatecrutches 

I was so happy to start Physical Therapy.  I am someone who likes to WORK on stuff when it's messed up and so starting exercises and stretches and therapy toward that end was huge for me mentally.  The day I could fully rotate my leg on a recumbant bike made me cry.

Look what I'm doing! #whenPTsaidyesIalmost cried!

There was almost no pain after the first two weeks.  The repair went super well and the pain meds seemed to work awesomely.  I was paranoid of dependancy (and wanted to get pregnant) so I only used one round of prescriptions.

The hugest problem was, and still is, my limp.  I am almost 9 months post surgery and I still limp.  It's gotten better...the first 6 months it caused major back pain.  I hardly notice it now, but others do and it makes me CRAZY.  No one can quite figure out why I limp.  It's either a straightening problem (probably the biggest cause in the beginning but probably not now) or a strength problem (Hip? quad? no one knows) or a mental thing (like, my brain has just gotten used to limping).  I kind of walked away from PT and doctors about 3 months ago because I'm hoping it will get better with time and the pregnancy doesn't help it and I'm just frustrated.  I can hike, bike, swim, run (I ran 3-4 miles a week August-November) but I walk like a gimp.  Grrrrr!

Just some picture from MY FIRST BIKE RIDE OUTSIDE #mayhavecryingatinybit #feelssogoodtobemovingmybodyNOTinagym

Why it has been hard:

  • I don't like being perceived as weak.  I hate that anywhere I go, people can see something is wrong with me.
  • I hate that I can't identify the problem (with the limp) and just work my hardest to fix it.
  • I hated giving my already over-loaded husband so much of my job.  It made me feel pointless as a wife.
  • Um, weight gain? Yeah.  Started the pregnancy 20 lbs overweight.  Not fun.
  • I hate having to talk about my stupid leg ALL THE TIME.  I'm not bugged that people ask, I just don't have answers and have to say the same stupid phrases over and over.
  • I hate not being the athlete I've always been.
  • I hated having to modify what I could do with my family, especially in the beginning.
  • Add that to morning sickness and other pregnancy ailments, starting in May, and it's been a rough year.

What I've learned/silver linings:


Just kidding.  Kind of.

I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the purpose is in this injury.  It's what I do.  I have a very fatalistic (things happen for a reason) way of looking at life.  It makes me to feel better about the hard things that life throws at you.  So, I've tried to look for what I'm supposed to be learning.  And it's not completely clear.

I've definitely learned a lot about service.  Those 6 weeks that I was non-weight bearing were humbling and sweet as I watched people give my kids rides everywhere, drop off dinner, babysit bored 4 year olds, stop by with flowers, leave plates of cookies, clean my kitchen.  This is what I learned:
1.  Doing something is all that matters.  It doesn't at all have to be the perfect thing (plates of cookies did nothing to speed recovery or help the housework get done--but it made me feel remembered and that is a service.)
2.  You have to just show up and start helping.  People who said "call me if you need me" were sweet but I never called them.  People who said "I'm bringing dinner one day this week.  Pick a day." or "I'm here and I'm cleaning your kitchen" were the ones who actually performed service for me.  It's been a huge revelation and hopefully has helped me improve.

These kids deserve thank you Notes for all the extra they've done around here the last six weeks. #luckymom #alsotakingthemonathankyoudate

I've tried to learn that my worth doesn't lie in my output or appearance.  Isn't coming easy, but I think that's why we have a long life, with lots of Heavenly Father can teach us a small percentage at a time.

I've learned that sometimes I just have to endure.  I can't MAKE things change or happen a lot of the time.  I realized about 3 months ago that the reason the limp bothered me so much was because I, deep down, thought it was MY FAULT.  I thought if I'd used crutches longer, or did PT every day instead of every other day or didn't go to kick boxing, etc. that I wouldn't be limping.  Ryan laughed out loud when I told him that and said "what is it like in that head of yours?!"  I think this is a hard thing that just takes time to work through.

I knew I'd find a use for the 40 lbs of cranberries I accidentally ordered last November. #icepack

I learned a little bit more about compassion.  I can relate a teensy bit more to people with chronic illness, depression, physical malfunctions, surgeries than I did before.  I think there is great value in that.

So there's the summation.  I can't quite type "I'm glad I've had to go through it".  Wish I could.  I can type:  I'm glad my Heavenly Father knows me and trusts me to grow and change through trial.  I might still be limping along, but I'm getting stronger and better my knee and in my heart.