Alaska.You Have My Heart.Again…

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Alaska. The Way I See You.

Rocks, Roots & Rainbows.

Granite, Gold & Glaciers.

Cold & Crisp, But Kind.

The Water Is Clear, But Candid.

She Is Fierce, Yet Friendly.

Beautiful, But Bold.

If You Don’t Believe In God; You Will.

His Presence Is All Around.

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Graduation

So, as many of you know – I have had a busy summer.  My Son graduated from High School, I had a work Conference right after, came home for a few days, we then left for Hawaii with a good friend and two of my Son’s friends; we came home for a few days and cruised to Alaska.  It was a super great couple of months.  My co-workers probably disagree; but very understanding.  The graduation was so fun and full of life.  Having a bunch of kiddos around, seeing

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Oahu, Hawaii

them light up as they received their Diplomas, listening to them talk about their future; having the “Graduation Party”.  We saw so many Friends and Family and they were all around to embrace our kid.  It tugged at the heart strings; but made us so proud.  Two days after all of that it was our annual work conference.  Gone another week. Came home, packed up and headed off to Hawaii.  Took two of my Sons buddies, met up with a great friend and hung out a little over a week.  I was a bit unclear about this trip because of the

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Elections Conference

three boys.  You are never sure if they will get along the whole trip, if two will buddy up; you just don’t know.  HOWEVER, they were sooo fun and I would take them around the world – in a second.  Not only were they fun, they simply made the trip.  They lived like rock stars and we had a ball watching them.  We came home for about four days and then left for an Alaskan cruise.  This was a fun one.  My Aunt and Uncle were celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary and invited 50 friends and family members.  They have spoiled us throughout the years and this was seriously, icing on the cake.

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Alaska

When I look back on my life, my most vivid, “fun” memories, had something to do with my Aunt & Uncle.  Their life was insanely busy; BUT they still wanted to see my report card.  Gave me kudos; would give me a $5 bill.  For all of my school breaks, I was typically with my Gramma.  Gramma lived in Seattle and my Aunt & Uncle lived on Mercer Island; or the “Rock”, as the locals call it.  Therefore, we were with them a lot.  The memories I have of the “Rock” era are so fun and H-A-P-P-Y!  I mean, who doesn’t love being on a rope swing, on Lake Washington?  What about the Sea Dancer?  The bath tub?  The round bed?  My cousins pictures all over with his perfectly coiffed, feathered hair?  Or his hockey pictures?  All of the avocado plants?  The big glass table?  The poker table?  The hanging bed?  The sauna?  Riding around in the Lincoln?  The red marble bar?  The BBQ pit out back – oh, what I wouldn’t due to have that at my house now… My Aunt’s beautiful, perfectly blonde hair?  Her crab salad?  The orange furniture?  The dancing?  What about the sauna?  Remember the bridge you drove over to get to the house?  Or the fish tanks as you walked in?  The Picasso’s?  When it was cold – the fire place?  Ping pong or Pool?  I literally could go on and on.  They were the ones that made life so fun.  I have always looked back and remembered how hard they worked for such a fun, GOOD life.  I always wanted that.  They BOTH showed you how important work was.  I have ALWAYS thought about that.

Not only was this cruise fun, it was so interesting.  Listening to the stories the Friends had.  Or the Family.  They were ALL fun.  Most of the Friends that came, worked with or for them.  They knew their integrity.  All of them would do anything for them.  The stories that were told, were just as if it happened yesterday.  The memories are GRAND.  They are so happy.  Their kindness has ALWAYS mattered.  Our dinner time was 8 o’clock every night.  However, we all met up around 6:30, in a gated off space just so that we could talk.  Communicating was so fun.  Listening was even better.  Some of the stories that were told – you just wish you could have been a fly on the wall!  One thing that was so interesting to me was,  how my Uncle responded.  I think he was actually surprised we all had so much fun with them AND remembered it all.    The pictures he shared nightly, were so awesome!  They are pictures I have seen hundreds of times, but seeing my Husband enjoy them, or the young ones look at them, was truly a treasure.  My Aunts hair used to be brown.  My Uncle hunted a lot back in the day – in his Lincoln.  Everybody had cigarettes.  There were bottles everywhere.  People were just flat happy around them.  My Aunt was so damn classy – still is.  My Uncle still has the charm, too!  Not only were they fun – they still are.

Another fun thing on this cruise were the people that would talk to me about my Gramma.  She was such a GREAT, stout woman.  I just wish I could have had her for longer.  Obviously God needed a true Republican woman up there 🙂   BUT, the lady that has cleaned for my Aunt & Uncle for 40 years – yes, she is still there, told me how much my Gramma loved me and that I was her favorite.  Those are the best things to hear when your getting close to, well, what ever my age is…  I loved hearing things like that.  It was so fun.  The stories were something I hope everybody has.  Maybe you do.  They were fun reminders. They were things you want to be sure and do with your own kiddos.

This cruise was the first trip we had been away from our Son, for this long.  And yes, he is 18, but it was new for my Husband and I.  With our Son being away for Graduation and Hawaii, we thought it would be best if he stayed back; because he does have a job…  I read A LOT; Chris played Poker.  We ate whenever we needed to.  Slept in.  Not having to make sure your kid is having the time of his life, was quite nice.  He was so very missed, but I’m pretty sure he had a good time with us away.

As I said, 50 Friends and Family Members were invited.  Probably the closest family was, unfortunately, unable to make it.  This trip was a true testament that we are all getting older.  None of my Aunt or Uncles siblings were there.  That was hard on them.  The people that they were always the closest too.  My Mom being one of them.

My Mom is my Uncle’s baby sister.  He has always treated her like that and still does.  She got an infection that really took her down.  She was in a rehabilitation facility as we cruised to Alaska.  His other Sister just found out she may have Parkinson’s.  One of my Aunts Sisters stayed back because her Husband is very ill.  Of course, they understood, but it was hard on them.  Staying close – it’s getting harder.  For all of us.

My Aunt & Uncle have one Son.  We have always been close.  We look like we could be siblings.  Our Gramma would always tell me that people would ask her about us.  We both have TALL kids.  He used to scare the hell out of me growing up with that damn Godzilla mask of his!!  His room, growing up, had Heart (as in the band) posters everywhere.  The carpet in his room had stripes.  -My Aunt was so hip at her designing!  I have always felt like we were siblings.  We were kind-of raised that way.  IMG_9368We look a like, too.  This cruise was different for us.  Our discussions were different.  Their were a lot of tears.  We talked about what the next few years are probably going to be like.  Our parents are aging.  *sniff*

At my Aunt & Uncle’s 50th Wedding Renewal; we all celebrated.  We celebrated them.  Their hard work over the years.  Their kindness.  What they have done for all of us.  Their class.  What hard work looks like.  How important time is.  Time.  Is there ever enough?  It’s not just them getting older.  It’s me getting older.  How do you learn to slow down and take it all in?  To ENJOY your time?  Do you have to wait?

 

If I look back at the “fun” times, our parents were the age we are now.  THAT is weird.  I visited my Mom at the rehabilitation facility she is at, yesterday.  I took a picture of her and my self and sent it to my Uncle.  He told me how good she looked and to give her a hug.  I then sent him a picture of her hands.  Her HANDS.  They looked just like my Gramma’s.  It caught me off guard.  The aging parent.  It’s hard.  We are now becoming the parent.  That’s even harder.  My cousin and I get it.  We “get” it.  We just don’t want to.

On a MUCH lighter note. My cousin, the one I was just talking about, had both of his Sons with him.  They are both in their early 20’s.  It is fun watching him be a Dad.  See how he reacts, or doesn’t.  His youngest is a Senior in College and he brought his GF.  His oldest proposed to his GF on the cruise.  It was really neat.  I couldn’t figure out if it was a total surprise or not.  Super fun though.  The ring was gorg and the wedding talks began.  I remember being in that situation – many moons ago – But it was so fun!

Speaking of my cousins kiddos…  Watching them watch their grandparents was neat.  When this was probably the first time they realized their Grandparents are aging.  Seeing THAT through their eyes.  There was a true realization and tears.  Lots of tears.  Meaningful tears.  Ones in which we will all remember.

Even though the tears flowed, we all had such a GREAT family time.  All of the “FRIENDS” are family…  At these events – you always meet those fun ones.  You know – those fun cousins you want to go hang out with?  Maybe throw back a few?   (N.O your one of them!)

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As for a sincere, Thank You – Uncle J & Aunt D – Your strength, kindness, stealth, honor and love has been a part of my life forever.  It is what I remember the most growing up.  What you have shared with my child is unforgettable.  What you have given me is something that I can not describe.  The arm around my shoulder; the simple hug; Election talks… Your love for your family & friends, Trumps everything.  You have taught all of us how important work is, in this life.  I hope I get back an ounce of what you have.  Much, much, much love and so much more.  Thank You.

Love, A 

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Okay, okay, so I started off writing this blog as a reference to friends that wanted to know how Alaska was…  Or where did I go…  How was the cruise, etc…  I got off track.  I always say – Family First.  So, here was our agenda and a few things we did:

First stop – Ketchican!

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When we were in Ketchican last year, we found a restaurant that we fell in love with.  Ketchican Crab & Grille.  They don’t have a website, but there food is divine. As soon as we got off the ship – Chris and I literally ran to it.  Oh, yeah, it was 10am and they didn’t open until 11am.  We then walked a few blocks and got there at 10:55am.  The crab is not just fresh, it is GREAT.  The service is fun.  I mean, just look at these pictures…

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Pic on the left is Mac-N-Cheese and pic on right is calamari.  They were both sooo good. Ketchican is (what you see getting off a cruise ship) is really “touristy”.  We didn’t do any excursions in Ketchican; so all I know about it is, you can buy GREAT gifts for your co-workers.  They have diamond stores on every block.  The mile-ish that we walked around the dock is fun.  Book stores, a clinic, boats.  It’s neat.  I would love to go out and adventure.  Next time….  Here are some very random pictures of Ketchican:

 

Beautiful, isn’t it?  Next stop?  Juneau.

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Again, we experienced Juneau by walking off of our ship, with the “what do we do” theory??  We ended up taking the Tram up into the tree’s.  It was absolutely GORGEOUS!  They had a couple of Eagle’s on display, a fun couple of trails, a restaurant – we ended up having a couple brews.  The best part?  By far, the view.  Again, we killed all of our time up in the hills in Juneau with no excursions; but we would do it again.

 

Our next stop?  Skagway.

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Skagway was so beautiful.  We ended up taking the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad Summit Excursion & Train Tour.  It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  We learned so much, took tons of pictures and decided if we ever came back we would do the longer tour.  It is just so interesting what people so long ago did.  Or what they were capable of doing.  In the snow; that was so deep.  White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad  < Check this link out – You will learn so much about what these people endured, built and what we gained.

This is from the tour – Again, AMAZING…

 

Last stop?  Victoria, BC.

The BEST part of Victoria?  Butchart Gardens!!  I LOVE this place.  The history is amazing! ( Information on Butchart Gardens << Check out this link for BG) We simply took the excursion there.  Spent a few hours there and then came back in the dark.  Super fun!  I told my husband, after our Kiddo goes to college, Victoria would be a fun place to hang out for an extended weekend.  The pics don’t do this place justice, but here goes…

 

Victoria at night…

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Other than being with Family and making new Friends, this was truly a great part for me-

 

I absolutely loved our deck.  I LOVE to read and never have time to “just read…”. I did a lot of that, too.  For the record – I read 3 books!  I also got into the Word daily.  The sights were beautiful and the weather was perfect.

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On a fun note – Does your family have a Family Priest?  Ours does!  Super fun guy that try’s to keep us together and in-line.  He even wears checkered Vans…

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Another thing that was fun on the Cruise was doing “On Deck For A Cause”.  5 in our group walked for cancer.  Super fun!

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Until we meet again…

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Want to follow my blog?  Let me know – ajlhanson@gmail.com and I will send you an invite.  Or Calvinsmomblog.com

Me. Meat vs. NO Meat. Can I Do It?!

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So, yesterday (05.20.2019) I started a Challenge.  No, not a gym challenge; just one that I wanted to see if I could do.  I gave up meat.  For one month.  I truly wanted to see what I would feel like.  Would I feel better?  Would I feel H-E-A-L-T-H-Y??  My niece is a Vegan.  She posts a lot of stories and takes pic’s of her food.  It seems interesting.  I mean, I like a good steak.  I LOVE tacos.  I like me a good burger.  I have NEVER said no to a Dick’s burger.  And I suppose I never will.  Why would I give up meat?  I’m not sure.  I’m not even sure I can.  Could you?  It’s a staple in my house.  My parents were the ones that had the friends that had kids in the 4-H.  They bought beef from them for YEARS!  My husband and I continued that tradition until the man that we bought from died.  I love fish, chicken and pork, too.  I’m giving those up, too.  At this point, why not?  I did ask my niece – “How do you get your protein…?”  When you eat meat, that is so simple.  If I am meal prepping for the week, am lazy and want to eat some what good, I just go to Costco and buy a rotisserie chicken.  Good, protein and filling.  AND easy…   Today for lunch I had a bit of rice and peas.  Yeah, rice and peas.  I know–WEIRD!  It was actually really good.  Filling and I would eat that again.   I may have it again, tomorrow.

Day 5 – Friday

So far, so good.  I’m not craving anything.  The hardest part so far, is figuring out what you need to eat if you go out to dinner.  Yes, I can get a salad, however, most salads now have a meat on it.  I do like salads, but not over-the-top fan.  I’m also not a big fan of dressing and I don’t like a salad without it.  See what I’m saying?  Tonight we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant.   Of course, I have never even looked to see if they have a “vegetarian” section on their menu.  They do.  Like maybe 4 or 5 things.  What is interesting about it is that there is really no information that goes along with it.  You know, if you were to order Fajita’s on the “normal” side, it would go into – chicken, beef or shrimp, red and green peppers, onions, sour cream and guac.  On the Veg menu it just says “Fajita’s”.  I decide to order them.  I’m thinking they will just be like the normal fajita minus the meat–Right??  No.  No meat, but cauliflower, lima beans, carrots – no peppers.  They were really good, but very different.  I’m sure in a bigger city, these issues would be no big deal.

Day 8 – Tuesday

Okay, Tuesday is my Bible Study night.  It starts at 6:30 and I typically leave the church by 8:30 – 9 pm. — Yes, we all love to hang out after class…  Okay, so anyway, I had a few things I wanted to get done at the house before I left.  Because of that, I didn’t grab a bite to eat.  When your in this situation, cereal is GREAT!  It can be a go-to.  But, no, I didn’t grab anything.  Big mistake.  Soooo, I ended up ordering a pizza.  Light cheese, on garlic crust.  It was divine.  I don’t think I will ever eat meat pizza again.  Seriously.  BUT, when your used to eating so “light”, the crust became such a filler.  I ate 3 pieces.  Yes – THREE pieces.  I was miserable.  I swear the crust grew in my stomach.  After I went to bed I still felt so full. I woke up at 4:15 am the next morning to do the gym thing.  Miserable.  I could barely lift and when it came to punching or kicking (yes, I’m a kick-boxer) — I was miserable.  Actually, it’s been 5 hours since my workout and I still feel full.  Gross.  So, yes, the pizza was “vegetarian”, but you can still make better choices.  I will be eating rice and beans for lunch and eating very clean today.   Will I have pizza again??  Duh.  Of course.  You could probably convince me to have it again tonight….  But, in the mean time, I need to get back on track.  And I will.  Tonight I will be doing BARRE and Boom Boxing.  I will make up for this morning.   Ugh…

One thing that I find interesting, as a vegetarian, you can actually eat a lot.  Sometimes you feel a bit hungry; more often.  No biggy though, you just eat an apple or two.  I never feel icky with the things I eat.  Or how much, I eat.  Before I started this, I did feel like I might feel icky.  But, not at all.  So far, giving up meat has not been hard at all.  There are so many “other” things to eat.  The thing that I find odd is how much we depend on meat.  For instance – Sunday comes along and your getting ready to make lunches for the week.  You make rice and broccoli and run to Costco and grab a chicken.  Easy, peasy.  You eat that for lunch and your great for the rest of the day.  The chicken is super filling and full of protein.  Done and done.  When your are eliminating meat, you have to come up with a different plan.  You have to pack other stuff.  Fruit, granola bar, yogurt.  This is new for me.  But I like it.  The other night my husband had bought a watermelon, I halved it and that was my dinner.  Things are different, but so doable.  I’m liking it.  A little over 2.5 weeks left.  I totally got this…

4 Days Left – Friday

I am still meat free. How does it feel?  Good.  What have I noticed?  Giving up meat has actually been easy.  The hard part – if you don’t plan on what you are eating and everyone around you is eating meat, that can be a challenge.  There are actually several restaurants that do not have vegetarian menus.  Some in which you are surprised that they don’t.  I did have a work conference and had to eat what they served.  It was all meat and my co-workers and I just traded food.  They gave me rice for chicken; or steak for potatoes.  It worked.  The questions I keep getting asked – Have I lost weight?  No.  Have I gained any?  No.  I have learned that not eating meat; I eat a lot of carbs.  ie. Rice, potatoes, cereal…  I don’t mind that, but the carb thing is always in the back of my mind.  Someone asked if bowel movements are different.  Nope same.  Will I eat meat again?  Yes.  I will not eat much meat, but I do like pepperoni pizza.  I love me a Dicks burger.  Taco’s, etc.  Will I continue to order vegetarian?  YES!!  The thought, right now, of eating any kind of meat, gags me.  However, I eat a lot of fish and that is what I am hungry for.  I’m craving fish.  Fish taco’s from the Highlander Grill.  I leave for Hawaii next week and I still plan on eating Musubi and fish…

Duhn, Duhn… Drum Roll, Please…

Was I able to do it?  For the most part.  What does that mean?  After my work Conference, I came home and did the usual “stuff”.  You know – mostly cleaned.  As I Was cleaning out the fridge, I noticed there was still a bit of meat left from Calvin’s Graduation Party.  I instantly went into, OMG – I should have put this in the freezer!  Bah!  I then made a meatloaf.  Calvin would be working, my husband would come home hungry, it would be perfect.  Chris didn’t get home until around 6pm. We were both starving.  I just made a meatloaf sandwich.  Totally forgot.  Yes, I ate it.  Chris did remind me, but at this point it was to late.  Was it good?  Divine.

Did I enjoy this experience?  Yes!  I figured out how to get around things I didn’t like in the first place – lunch meat “things”.  Ewww, the smell of deli meat – GROSS!  *Insert Green Face Emoji*  I really like cheese pizza.  All in all, I totally could stay away from meat.  It can be an inconvenience, but really, that’s it.

 

HS Graduation. From A Mom Of One. It Is Happening. Am I Ready?!

Life becomes weird at times.  Like now.  My boy is about to graduate HS.  I have NEVER been that Mom that “couldn’t believe”, at what state her kiddo was in.  ie. OMG!  I can’t believe he is in his terrible two’s…  I can’t believe he is in the 2nd grade!…  Is your kid a picky eater like mine?   I was never like that.  I took it all in stride.  Did some things annoy me?  Of course.  Did he drive me C-R-A-Z-Y?  Yep.  Still does.

I have tried to take in all of the life moments in stride.  Embrace them.  Share it with others.  Excited about the next things in life.  However, this whole graduation thing just hit me in the face.  I started addressing Calvin’s Graduation Notices — is that what you call them?  Or is it “invite’s”?  And yes – I am addressing them.  I just don’t think it is a busy kids thing to do.  If you don’t agree, that’s cool.  I’m pretty sure my kiddo will thank me in the end…  And wow – it is THAT time.  Graduation.  He has been in school since September of 2006.  He Graduates in June of 2019.  June 7th. 36 more days…  I remember the day he started Kindergarten.  He had the teacher everybody warned me about.  You know that teacher where that back room is a disaster?  I’m glad I didn’t listen to you — we loved her and her mess.  We love running into her.  Still.  Now he is about to walk in his blue cap and gown.  Red and blue tassel.  We have been in the same school district for all of his schooling.  I have LOVED every minute of Eastmont.  I know there a a few that see my kid and want to run.  Yeah–sometimes I do too.  We know who you are.  It’s okay.

I look back and simply thank God for all of the parents that helped me with my Village.  I hoped I helped you, in return.  There have been some true friendships with a lot of you.  Our closeness has mattered.  I will treasure it forever.  There are others, that, I’m sure, you are glad we will no longer be around you and yours.  I’m fine with that too.  I’ve learned to let go and be happy with that.  You probably are too.

I will miss the kiddos the most.  The sleep overs.  Buying doughnuts and milk for the morning.  I will miss the loud music that wakes me up.  I will miss hearing the kiddos talk in the hot tub.  I will miss the pool parties.  The pizza’s.  Explaining to all of the kids how important it is to douse yourself in sun screen.  That being tan isn’t that cool.  I make sure there is always a Bible in site.  Just in case.  I will miss everybody’s phone going off.  You know that beep, beep, beep, that inevitably drives you nuts.  I will miss doing laundry and wondering who’s shirt I am actually folding.  Setting it aside, hoping Calvin actually gives it to the right person.  The crazy-loud music from my kids car as he opens the garage door.  Our house is a Hub.  The house people can show up at, at any time.  No questions asked.  It’s the fun, safe place.  Parents trust it.  The kids love our animals.  Well, they love the cat.  The dog drives them nuts.  But they put up with her.  I will miss the kids leaving to play golf.  I will miss hearing about the game.  How did you play?  I will miss this.  All of it.

I know it’s almost time.  These kids are going to FLY high.  One is finally getting to move where Mom is.  Already has work lined up.  One is college bound with my kiddo and they will be roommates.  One is wanting to go to a tech school or a CC, but close to his gal pal.  One is going to college in another state.  It’s close, but yet so far.  One is going to college out of the country.  He got a scholarship to play football.  Are they ready??  Their Mom’s aren’t.  Either are their Dad’s.  But, it’s the next step.  I did it.  It’s just that I’m the Mom now.  It hurts.

I’m excited, too.  This is a new life for us parents, as well.  What does that entail?  When I find out, I will let you know…. *tear*

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Life Is Changing…

I’m not sure where you are, but I am in a new space in my life.  My Boy is 17 and life is
IMG_6637changing.  I’ve never been the Mom that was ever concerned about the “terrible two’s”, starting school, turning 13, 16 and driving, etc.  I have always embraced all of that.  Things are changing.  I get that.  But, now I’m questioning that.  Am I ready for this?  I mean, am I?  When my Son turned 16 nothing really changed.  Actually, it was nice.  He went to the store for us, would go get gas in my car if asked.  No biggy.  It was a nice convenience.  Then he got a job.  That was good because, he needed to make his own money.  He really liked his job.  Then he started texting and asking if he could go out to “Bob’s” after work.  No, big deal.  Then the movies.

Whatever.  I did all of this too.  Right?  I did, right?!  Well, then the weekend would come and my husband and I were bored stiff.  Last summer my husband was like, “Let’s go to Costco.”  I was like, “Oh, we can’t, I don’t have a list.”  I always had a list because my Son wanted to spend the least amount of time in Costco that he could.  The list kept me on track.  My husband said, “You don’t need a list anymore…”  True.  So we were off.    2.5 hours and 2 carts later, we left.  It was kind of fun and THAT was when IT was happening.  Life was changing.  My Kid is growing up and there is not a thing I can do about it…  *sniff*  After that Costco moment, I realized I needed to get over this whole thing and move on.  Fine.  Things went back to normal.  Or so I thought…

About 3 months ago, my Son and I started traveling to Colleges.  We went to 4 Colleges total.  It hit me that this was happening.  He was a Junior in High School.  OMG!  That means he is almost a SENIOR!!  It hit me again–I’m not sure about this.  In fact I was getting scared.  Kind of nervous.  At one point I tell my husband this.  He tells me he’s not going to have any issues because he will be moving with our Boy.  That, of course, cracked me up.  Again, I got over it.  I mean, I have to, right?  Yeah.  I, guess.

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Well, now it is different, in  different kind of way.  What do we do on weekends?  My husband and I?  Last weekend my husband cleaned all of our kitchen cabinets and then proceeded to oil them.  Oil them?  Who does that?  He then got on his hands an knees and scrubbed the tile floor.  With bleach and a tooth brush.  This weekend I cleaned out all of our cabinets, pantry and fridge.  It took a whole day.  Not fun.

The hubs decided to clean up our boat.  Open it up for the summer.  Hose it down, Change the oil and gas.  The week prior, we decided to sell it.  Bummer for me as I LOVE to take the boat out.  It puts my mind at ease.  I need it.  But, now we have a kiddo that will be leaving and is at the point that taking time out of his day is a hassle to come with us and “go boating…”  I get it.  So, it is time to sell.  I guess.  My husband was shocked that I suggested this.  But totally got it.  So he cleaned her up.  We were going to take her out and make sure she was good to sell.  Fine.

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My husband told me he would be ready to go in about 25 minutes.  I then changed my clothes, put on sun screen and was ready.  I then remembered all of our fun water trips.  Countless time on the Columbia; Lake Chelan and Lake Wenatchee.  My boy a his buddies learning to water ski.  Tubing on the back.  The fun.  Then I remember all of the teachings.  Why we have to put on sun screen.  Over and over again.  Don’t ask me why.  Just do it.  Your life jackets are on, right?  Do we have enough life jackets?  Did I feel like so and so is a strong enough swimmer?  He knows how to swim, right?  We brought enough food, right?  What about water?  Is there enough?  Is there a store close–just in case?  Do they get bored easy?  How long is to long?  What if they have to go potty?  Are they okay with going over the edge of the boat–with a Mom in the boat that is putting her hands over her eyes?  If not, how convenient is it to get to a potty?  This is the crap I am still thinking about.  I didn’t have to today.

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We had such a good time today.  No kids.  No lunch packing.  Yes, we did have a potty stop-for ME!  Sun screen was on point.  Hubs packed me an Iced Tea.  The weather was awesome!  Don’t get me started on Pontoon Boat Guy that had never launched a boat before…  But it was a blast.

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As I was missing my boy, or was it feeling guilty?  Not sure.  He was at work.  I called him.  I wanted to know if he could see us?  As we waved–like he could tell…  He said yes he could–and then sent us this picture.  It is us out on the boat, while he was at work.  This is our new life.

By the way, we are no longer selling the boat.

A Couple of Things You May Know. Or Not.

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What you may or may NOT know about me is that I LOVE books.  I love to read.  REALLY love to read.  If I could just read all day long, everyday and just not function, I might do it.  It brings me peace.  And makes me happy.  And content.  My Mom used to be a reader.  She LOVED to read.  Reading seems to be a struggle for her now.  She still reads her People magazine that she gets weekly, but it takes her about a week to read it.  It is still what she asks for every Christmas, though.  She used to read fast.  And read a lot of Louis L’amour books.  I’ve never read one, but I should.  I will some day.  She still has all of those books.  She never wanted to get rid of books.  I GET it. I can’t part with books either.  I love them.  My husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas one year.  I was so happy to get it.  It was so easy.  You could just order a “book” and poof!  It was there.  It just showed up.  They were even cheap.  I mean, who doesn’t love a cheap book?  The Kindle thing lasted for about 6 months.  And I really only “liked” it for 3-ish.  I forced myself to use it.  I just like a book.  The smell.  The feel.

As I am on my own time tonight, in a town that is not my own, am away from my family, don’t have to cook, clean, take the dog out, etc.  I decided to walk around, in downtown.  I am staying in Spokane.  In the middle of down town.  Right in the middle.  I am at an Elections Conference.  Tonight my co-workers are on their own.  One had to go home a day early (due to sons Kindergarten graduation) and one was going to do dinner with her niece, that happens to live here.  So what does that mean for me?  I walked around.  Got some dinner, walked to the park–you know–the one with the Carousal?  The park that has those goats that you stick your garbage in front of and it eats it?  That tall building with the clock?  This is the park I remember so well because this is where my Gramma and I would go to as a kid.  She lived in Spokane for years.  I remember her when I am here.  She was so fun.  Anyway, now that park has “updated” things.  A water-spray park.  Food trucks.  The carousal is covered.  How long has it been covered?

Anyway, on my way back to the hotel, I stopped at a book store.  Aunties Bookstore (www.auntiesbooks.com).  It’s right across for the hotel that I am staying at.  The last time I was here, I wanted to stop there and didn’t.  Looked at it several times, walked by it even more.  I did today.  It was glorious.  It had THE smell.  The books were divine.  I loved how they were in order.  How they were put on the shelf.  How they had notes on some that the staff recommended.  I love that.  It made me so happy.  I saw a kid moving a book cart around.  Using it to make a new end cap.  With new, fun bookmarks.  I saw my favorite book.  I read it at least once every two to three years.  I’m sure you have, too.  I will give you a couple of hints–Atticus?  Scout?  Yes, I had To Kill A Mockingbird in my hand.  Why? I own it.  Mine is old.  Has been read so many times.  The new one was pretty.  It hadn’t been opened.  Ever.  I put it back down.  I wanted to go buy a book mark.  I didn’t.  I just left; after 45 minutes.  It was my kind of fun.

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Another thing you may or may not know.  I love Subway.  It makes me happy.  My husband REFUSES to take me there.  He says it is the biggest waste of money.  My Son takes advantage of this.  He loves Subway, too.   When we are not around Chris (the hubs) he always wants to go there and of course, I say YES!  My sandwich goes something like this- 12 inches / on wheat / 3 pieces of ham / white cheese / very light mayo.  And that is it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  The person that is making it, always says, “Three pieces of ham?  That’s it?” Yes, that’s it.  Well, I put chips on it too.  Lays.  Plain Lays.  Sometimes Doritos.  Whatever my mood.  As I am on my own for dinner tonight, I walked to Subway.  About 5 blocks.  Totally worth it.  The kid today asked me if I would like to take the extra ham that I would have normally had on the sandwich, home.  No.  No, thank you.  What would you do with that?  Eat it later?  Eww.  No.  But, thank you.  They also never know how to ring it up.  They feel bad, I guess?  Some charge me regularly.  Some charge me as a kids sandwich.  Today the kid said to start having people charge me for a vegetarian sandwich with 3 pieces of ham.  It would be cheaper.  I wont; but good to know…!