Friday, May 12, 2017

She's a True Aggie Now!

Last Friday we loaded up the car for a quick road trip. Destination: Logan, Utah! During the drive, Carson watched the entire first season of Stranger Things, and I enjoyed a much needed nap(s). I packed a lunch and lots of snacks, so we were able to make it to Logan in record time!
When we arrived, we were greeted with lots of hugs from Cali and Jake!  They gave us a tour of Utah State.  We got to see the Art Building where Cali has studied 24/7 for the past four years. The grounds of the campus are gorgeous and surrounded by mountains.  We loved it.  Nyah REALLY loved it.  I think she may follow in Cali's footsteps and go to Logan for school.  Side note:  I tried to get Aaron to kiss me on top of the giant "A" on campus, but he said that would be way too awkward. 
Jake showed us the couch where he takes naps in between classes.  It was very comfy.
The next morning, Cali drove me up to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and dropped me off.  From there I ran six miles back to the hotel.  The sun was out, I was surrounded by mountains, and my route went right past the LDS Logan Temple.  It was a beautiful sight sitting up on the hill. 
When I got back to the hotel, we all got dressed for Cali's graduation and had some fun "borrowing" Cali's cap and gown.
The boys were tired of all the picture taking, so the girls heading outdoors for some selfies and more pre graduation pictures.  I love to see how much these girls love each other.
Guess who pulled into the parking lot during our picture taking?! None other than Grandpa Markie, Grandma Joannie, and Josh!  It was a joyous reunion with lots of hugs and more picture taking. My dad's car was filled with coolers that my mom and dad had filled with all the supplies needed for the picnic we'd planned for after graduation:  salads, veggies, a cake, soda, fruit, ice . . . My parents are an amazing support to me.  Boy do I miss them.
Next, we headed to campus for graduation.  It was surreal seeing Cali in her cap and gown.  She looked so beautiful and happy. Side note:  Carson and Josh snuck some macaroons from another college's ceremony to tide them over until after Cali's graduation.
As Cali marched in with her class from Caine College of the Arts, the bagpipes played some joyous tunes.  I'm not going to lie.  There were a few tears!
When Cali walked up to receive her diploma, the Dean of the Art College shook her hand and whispered, "You have quite the entourage here with you today!" He must have seen us all screaming and jumping up and down.
After the ceremony, I caught this photo of Grandpa David hugging Cali.  This picture is a keeper!
We enjoyed some Aggie ice cream after the ceremony and got the chance to meet Cali's Art History professor.  She was the sweetest person and raved about Cali.  
We saw on the weather app that some rain showers were heading our way, so we hustled outside to get pictures of Cali's entire entourage!  Now that we live in Oregon, we bring rain with us wherever we go!

Jake's parents, Don and Donna, came to support Cali at graduation.  I was so happy to finally get the chance to meet them.  Cali has told me WONDERFUL things about both of them, and she was absolutely right.  They are absolutely amazing and so supportive of Cali.  
Grandma Sue and Grandpa David drove all the way from California to celebrate with Cali.  They have been such supportive grandparents to her during her college experience.  They both looked AMAZING!
Aunt Kaylyn, Riley, and Wrigley drove up from Springville to spend the day with us.  They all looked GORGEOUS!  I was so happy to get to hold my new nephew.
Dad, Mom, and Josh were ROCKIN' it in the styling department as well!
My kiddos love their big sister! She is such a great example to them.
She IS coming up a little bit short in the height department though.  We lined the kids up shortest to tallest, and Carson is almost passing her up!
I love it when we are all back together again.
Cali has worn a "college" cap and gown twice now in her lifetime: once as a baby when Aaron and I graduated from BYU, and the second time during her own graduation from Utah State.  This girl has been through it all with us.  We couldn't be prouder of her!
Cali's entourage was definitely the most fun energetic group around!
The fun didn't stop after we left campus.  The raindrops worried us, but the clouds dried up during our picnic.  We headed to Merlin Olsen Park for a pizza picnic, lots of visiting, and a "friendly"game of kickball.  Cali's entourage grew at the park!  Caleb, Emily, Aunt Katie, Bailey, and the Peacock met us there to continue the PARTY!  What a fabulous celebration.
There was a beautiful cake for the gluten eaters.

Caleb and Emily bought two boxes of delicious gluten free goodies from City Cakes for the "silly yaks." Look at the happiness on these faces!
We goofed around for hours at the park.  I loved looking around at all of our friends and family laughing and talking together.  The Peacocks were our backyard neighbors for 13 years in Utah. They truly are part of our family. It was a wonderful day to reminisce and catch up on the new things in our lives.
Rena and I tried our best to reenact Nyah and Ady's shenanigans!
It was just like old times.  
My dad is a very wise man.  He leaned over to me when the picnic was about to end and said, "Vanessa, this life is all about family!" He is SO right.  This day was one of the best days of our lives, and it all had to do with the love and support we felt from friends and family, both those in attendance and those sending well wishes from afar.  Thanks so much to all of you who texted, called, messaged, sent cards, prayers, and happy thoughts our way.  Cali and our family truly felt your love and support. So proud of this chickadee.  She is going to soar! 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ever Regret A Resolution? January - The Longest Month of the Year

January 1, 2017.  A new year.

New goals.
Resolutions to change old habits.
Papers hanging on the fridge with goals written down for all to see.
We all make them.
We all break them.
And then we try again.

This year I made a resolution for our entire family.  I didn't ask them if they wanted to participate.  I just told them it was happening.  The resolution was ONLY going to last for one month:  the month of JANUARY.  We could do anything for 31 days, right?!  Resolution:  The Heber family would not eat out at ANY RESTAURANT for 31 days.  Could we do it?  I'm going to keep the suspense going until the end of this super long post.

January was a month filled with snow, ice, and days off of school.  I tried to run through the snow.  It worked some days, and other days I was forced inside to the treadmill.  Snow in Oregon is a whole different beast than snow in Utah.  Days upon days of not leaving the house made us all a little bit stir crazy.

Carson went outside to measure the snow one morning in his bare feet and without a shirt on.  He couldn't stand still for long because of his frozen feet, but his best guess was that we had received 8 inches of snow in one night.

I tried multiple times to "run" on the snowy ice covered roads.  It was rough and slow going.

One day I hid in a porta potty for a few minutes to stay warm.

I turned 43 years old on one of our snow days.  I had a blast guessing which child/husband made each sign.  The kids and I went sledding that morning.  I screamed bloody murder the whole way down our icy hill.  I am old and not very fun.  After we came inside to warm up, we sang "Happy Birthday" and ate delicious gluten free blueberry muffins made by Nyah.

Aaron gave me a beautiful card and money to go shopping with after the snow melted!

We had homemade Cafe Rio salads for dinner, put chains on the Hyundai's tires, and headed off to the movie, Hidden Figures.  5 out of 5 stars!  We all loved the movie.
The mail was backed up for days because of road conditions.  My birthday celebration continued as gifts arrived in the mail.  I am so grateful for such wonderful, thoughtful friends and family that make me feel special!
One Sunday after the snow melted, we drove to Oregon City to check out the Oregon City Elevator. It is rated as the #1 thing to do in the city.  When I told the kids we were off to see an elevator, there was a bit of complaining.  They ended up LOVING it and had a great time walking through the shops in town afterwards.  Put this on your "to do" list when you come to visit!

Other big news in January: 

Ian finally grew his hair long enough to fit in a man bun, and then . . . he cut it all off! (In this picture he is getting ready to smoke some pork with his new spices.)

Carson is still 13 years old, and he is still super cool.  He went to his first school dance in Oregon. What are the chances that he and his buddy, Aidan, wore the same t-shirt to the dance?! Carson is currently reading the book, Maximum Ride.  He is often found in very strange locations reading.

Nyah is working her tail off in school studying for finals, practicing piano, and training for her first half marathon.  She just completed her first 9 mile run on Friday.  I am so proud of her dedication. She went to Winter Formal on Saturday with some of her sweet friends.  They ate at the Spaghetti Factory beforehand and had a blast dancing the night away.  

This month we got rid of Aaron's favorite piece of furniture:  the giant leather chair.  I have been wanting to get rid of it for YEARS, but I had to wait for Aaron to agree.  One day, after being cooped up inside for days because of bad roads, Aaron finally agreed to let me put it on Craig's List!  Three minutes after posting the chair, I had ten people interested in this free beauty.  One man said he would be by that evening to pick it up, even though the roads were slick.  
When he arrived at the door, I greeted the man, and then he quickly asked, "Do you have bed bugs?"  
"What?  No!" I said defensively.
"Well, would you tell me if you did have bed bugs?" he repeated.
"Sir, you don't have to take the chair!" I was speechless.  After a few awkward moments, Aaron and Ian loaded the chair into his van, and he drove away with it.  We sat around the living room that evening staring at the giant gaping hole left by the missing chair wondering what had just happened. The next day, I quickly got over the loss by redecorating. 

Running news:

I ran my first 20 miler of the year last weekend.  I ran most of it alone.  It was tough mentally, but I survived.

I had my first race of the season yesterday.  It was the Roaring Run 1/2 marathon.  I was really nervous about running on Saturday.  It had been raining ALOT the days previous, and I had never driven to Scio, Oregon, the site of the race.  Aaron volunteered to wake up early on Saturday morning to drive me down and wait for me at the finish line.  Saturday is his only day to sleep in, so this meant a lot to me!  I am so grateful for his support.

The race was very well organized.  The course was beautiful, wet, windy, and mostly flat (with ever so slight uphill the last few miles).  I felt really strong the first six miles and was able to hold a 7:15 pace.  I started getting tummy trouble at Mile 6 1/2, and my legs felt like they lost all of their oomph. Mile 6 seems to be the limit for me at this speed.  I slowed down each mile after that, but I pushed my body as hard as I could.  I finished the race in 1:41:16 (7:44/mile average).  I was the fourth woman, and got 1st place in my age group.  

Running is a great outlet for me.  It is sometimes a painful space.  It is often a therapeutic space.  It is "me time" space.  It is a "figure out my life" space. For me, running is never about competing against anyone but myself.  My favorite part of racing is cheering other runners on.  Everyone is running towards a new goal, away from the past, or through a current rough patch.  I can't quite explain it, but I love the running community because everyone supports each other whether they are strangers or long time friends.  Nine years ago, my neighbor and friend, Amy, told me I should run a marathon. She inspired me and trained with me.  I will never be able to thank her enough for teaching me how to run.

January has 31 days in it.  I don't know if it has been the snow and yucky weather, or if it was my resolution to not eat out all month, but this January has lasted FOREVER!  If you are still reading this ridiculously long post, here are the results of my FAMILY RESOLUTION TO NOT EAT OUT DURING THE ENTIRE MONTH OF JANUARY . . .

1 person cheated twice.
1 person cheated once.
1 person cheated because they were forced to by friends.
1 person didn't cheat because he is a cheapskate and won't buy his own food.
1 person didn't cheat, could have cheated, but didn't cheat NOT EVEN ONCE!

We celebrated our "mostly successful" NO EATING OUT RESOLUTION last night by . . .
EATING OUT AT PIEOLOGY!  Now I have to think of a new goal for February! Hope you all had a fabulous January.