Sunday, March 22, 2009

Seattle vs. Salt Lake

So we've lived in Washington for almost four years now, and today I was thinking about all of the things that are different here than they are in Utah where I lived most of my life, so here are a few.

Tons more rain and humidity which has some wonderful benefits like all the beautiful trees, flowers and plants growing wild everywhere, we only have to water the lawn occasionally in the late summer months, the flowers I plant actually grow without having to be watered daily, and rarely get scorched by the sun, in Utah if you miss a day of watering in late summer your plants are scorched! In Washington we are always trimming the trees and bushes because they grow like mad. In Utah we watered and fertilized like crazy to get things to grow.

Seattle is called "The Emerald City", and it's not just because of the pine trees! Moss grows everywhere, I just love it some places, like on the rocks and some trees, but if it starts growing in the lawn it takes over, not good! Anything that sits outside for any period of time has a lovely green film. Patio furniture, pots, walkways, and fences. Our motor home has a nice green tint and now matches my old green Expedition! Even the bread turns green over night sometimes!

I love living here among the 50 foot plus trees all around our yard and neighborhood. When we first moved here it felt so different, it was hard for me to get my bearings because you cannot see past the trees to see any land marks. I have a terrible sense of direction and never knew which way I was headed, sometimes I would call Drew on my cel phone and say, "help! which way do I go?" He doesn't share my direction impairment and could always point me in the right direction! In Salt Lake you can see the whole valley from most places. Downtown SLC was north, Provo was south, big mountains were east, and small mountains west, and the grid system makes it very easy to find an address. Thankfully our area here is on somewhat of a grid system as well, but with all the lakes and rivers there are always odd detours to get me lost! Thank goodness for GPS and mapquest! Last time I was in Utah I was driving up on the east side 220 freeway and thought "Wow, you can see all the way to the Oquirrh Mountains from here, I forgot about that! When my dad comes to visit, he always keeps saying "sooo many trees, too many trees, aren't you afraid they will fall on your house!" And yes sometimes that does happen, a few years ago a huge tree fell on the house behind us, now we have a nice view out back of the bottom of the 10 foot stump.

It doesn't get as cold or as hot here. Some winters this area gets almost no snow but the last few years we have had our share, and I love it! The snow looks beautiful on all of the pine trees and rarely stays long enough for me to get sick of it, others here don't share my love of the snow. Most people here have no idea how to drive in it so everything shuts down when it snows and people panic, sometimes abandoning their cars along the road, really, all over the place! The first time we saw this we just couldn't believe it! The boys had 5 snow days one year and I'm sure there wasn't more than 5 or 6 inches on the ground! I can only remember one snow day the whole time we lived in Utah! We experienced first hand how bad it can be when we were heading to Utah for Christmas this year, there was a terrible snow storm the day we were leaving, and due to lack of snow removal equipment and de-icers for the airplanes, we sat on a plane for 7 hours before taking off for our 2 hour flight to Salt Lake! In Salt Lake they are so used to the snow and de-icing planes, it only takes 20 minutes or less.

I have to say most of the drivers here are much more courteous than in Utah and people in general don't speed. I really notice this when I come back to Utah and drive on the freeway, people just fly by and drive sooo aggressively. Here in Washington, almost everyone will let people in ahead of them, sometimes stopping all traffic to let people in. Drivers rarely speed even on the freeway, I'm sure in part due to the fact that tickets are very expensive!

The one thing I miss most about Utah is the warm, dry climate in the summer. I miss going outside and feeling the hot sun on my skin. Sometimes it is so hard to get warm here because of the humidity. We do have beautiful summers with a mild climate but I just miss that hot, hot sunshine. Drew says he doesn't miss it at all and loves the cooler summers. At first the rainy weather didn't really get to me too much, but this year has been harder, probably because I spent so much time cooped up inside with my leg injury. I actually have to take a prescription strength vitamin D supplement because my vitamin D levels are so low! I am so looking forward to summer and sunshine!

Prayers in church are slightly different, in Utah people always say how grateful they are for the rain and moisture. I've never heard that in a prayer here in Washington, we only say how grateful we are for the sunshine! You just can not truly appreciate sunshine until you've lived in a place like Seattle!!!

If you're not a member of my church you won't get this but I've noticed how much the Youth here enjoy and appreciate early morning seminary. The youth in our church grades 9-12 attend seminary (scripture study). In Utah where there are so many members, they have a "release time" option, they can take a seminary (scripture study) class during any class period during school, they take a short walk across the street to a LDS Seminary building to take their class. I must admit that I am sooooo not a morning person and I was dreading early morning seminary for Coleman, (I used to joke that they needed a "late night" class for us night owls!) All the youth say how much they enjoy early morning seminary and wouldn't miss it, they love starting out their day with their fellow church member friends and the wonderful teachers who volunteer their time to teach. (In Utah it is a full time paid position, not to discount the wonderful, talented, and dedicated seminary teachers in Utah, because they are amazing!) I think sometimes our youth in Utah (at least my older kids did!) take seminary for granted because it is always there and so easy for them to take the classes that they don't truly appreciate the opportunity. Outside of Utah the students and the teachers make the sacrifice of sleep to learn and study and associate with fellow members and seem to appreciate it so much more. ( this has just been our experience and I know many, many youth in Utah do take full advantage and appreciate the seminary opportunity!) Coleman loves seminary and will actually choose to go even if he has a Dr. or Dentist appointment first thing in the morning. He always goes to seminary, even the day he was leaving for his trip to China he got up and went to Seminary before we left for the airport, I wish I had his dedication! So a big, big THANK YOU to all of the Seminary Teachers who prepare and teach our Youth all over the World, you're awesome!!!

I am enjoying the experience of living in the beautiful Northwest and look forward to finding more areas explore and visit here, but Utah will always be "Home" to me!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New York!

Our trip to New York was so much fun! The energy of the city is amazing! I've seen so many pictures and TV and movies but they just don't do it justice. Being there is something you have to experience for yourself. We truly tried to do it all while we were there. Our trip started with a bus tour of the city stopping at Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Ground Zero, Times Square, Park Avenue, lower Manhattan, China Town, & Little Italy. That evening we went to see Lion King. We had all been on the red-eye flight and up all day so during the show we were all fighting to stay awake after a big meal at Dallas BBQ, but is was so fantastic! Especially the costumes and music. The next day the drill team girls took classes at Steps on Broadway, so Erica, Laurie and I headed out on the subway with some of the other parents to find Little Italy. The weather was sunny and almost warm! We shopped for purses and scarves (all "special price, just for you") in china town then found a cute little Italian restaurant and had a yummy lunch sitting outside with the sun shining, it was great! We continued shopping on Canal Street then took the subway to 5th Avenue and 42nd Street to check out the shopping there but by that time my foot was hurting and Erica was tired of shopping so we decided to catch a cab back to the hotel and take a rest! Laurie and some of the other parents continued shopping then walked back to the hotel. I think I could lose weight living in New York because you can walk anywhere, or catch a bus or the subway, we are so used to getting in the car to go anywhere it was fun to be near Times Square where everything is within walking distance. I would have walked even more if my injured foot would have cooperated! When we committed to the trip, I had no idea that my foot would still be bothering me 6 months after my accident! I thought it would be all back to normal by now, sadly that is not the case and I'm getting pretty sick of it! My sister Laurie was so nice and patient with me and how slow I had to walk when it would get swollen and painful, but I tried to make the most of it and do and see everything we could! That evening Mandy and Erica wanted to go Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum. We went to the biggest Applebees I've ever seen afterwards. On Saturday morning the whole group took the subway to Battery Park where we took a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, which was interesting to see but for some reason seemed smaller that I thought it would be! It was really cold that day so when the ferry took us to Ellis Island we were too cold to get off the boat (we needed to save something for the next time we go!) After getting off the ferry we took the subway back to Little Italy for some great Italian food for lunch, then more shopping in little Italy and china town, what fun! We found lots of cute scarves and purses. That evening we went to Wicked. It was by far the best Broadway show I have ever seen, amazing! Our group was able to stay after the show for a "meet and greet" with a few members of the cast and crew, the girls were able to ask questions, get autographs and hear some of the history and details of the production. On Sunday we decided attend Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, it was so pretty and it was interesting to attend Sunday Mass there. After Mass we had lunch at Rockefeller Center then met the whole group for a tour of Radio City Music Hall. It was really interesting. We headed to Bubba Gump Shrimp Company for a fun group dinner, then went to visit the Observation deck at Top Of The Rock in the Rockefeller Center where we saw wonderful views of the city at night. We spent the rest of the evening walking around Times Square then stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe for dessert. On Monday morning Laurie and Mandy went shoe shopping at Macy's while Erica and I went to the wax museum and had fun taking photos with lots of famous people! (Wax figures that is) then we went to the Broadway Cafe for our last meal in New York. It was snowing and windy and very cold, bone chilling cold, so needless to say our last few hours in NY were not as enjoyable as the rest but we still tried to make the most of it. (I bet the cabs made lots of money that day because it was too cold and windy to walk anywhere!) The storm delayed our flights a few hours but we all made it home safe and sound! Can't wait to go back but next time I will definatley go when it's warmer!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

My first Blog

I'm not sure what to write, so since I'm a stay at home mom I guess I'll just have to write about my family.

Erica my oldest and only daughter is living with my parents in Utah. She is 22 now and has a very busy schedule going to school at SLCC, teaching several dance classes along with choreographing and coaching girls for solos at a dance studio in South Jordan. She also works at the lab, a small business that we still own in Utah. (She doesn't enjoy this job but tolerates it to pay for her car and insurance) She spends what little free time she has with her cute boyfriend, Brandon Jensen, and their dogs, Charlie & Tucker. They come to Seattle when they can get away from school and work, we love it when they visit! I have to say I feel a little "cheated" that she lives so far away, we always have a great time chatting, shopping, and eating out when we are together!

Cameron will be 20 in a few weeks and is going to school at Bellevue Community College studying computer science and plans to transfer to a University next fall. He just started working full time with a web based marketing company. So between work, school, and his girlfriend, we don't get to see enough of him these days. He has also been teaching snowboarding lessons on the weekends for the past 3 years and secretly wishes this could be his career! Thankfully he knows a College Education is a better choice. He has a quirky sense of humor and can always make me laugh! He is 6'1" and sometimes I walk into his room in the morning and see his long legs hanging out of the covers and say to myself "I just can't believe he is my child" I still feel like I should be a mom with little kids, not adults!

Coleman is 15 and in the ninth grade. He is such a great, easy going, happy kid. This past year he has grown so much and looks so different, not my little boy anymore, totally a teenager now. He enjoys hanging out with his friends, they love to play XBox Live, Rock Band, and go out in the woods all around our neighborhood "Airsofting" sometimes they look pretty scary running around in hoodies with airsoft guns, wearing their face masks, (it's similar to paint balling but with little biodegradable pellets) but I figure it gets their aggression out and it is great exercise! He is also taking guitar lessons and enjoys snowboarding. He seems to have discovered girls (or they discovered him!) and spends lots of time texting and facebooking, such a different world from when we were kids! This year he started early morning seminary and gets up all on his own at 5:00 am, thankfully a girl in our neighborhood picks him up every day! (Thank you Alexa!) He has only missed one day due to illness all year! He is looking forward to a Cultural Exchange trip to China that he will be taking during spring break this April as well as EFY this August in Tacoma. He also loves fishing, boating, clamming, & crabbing with Drew in the summer.

Drew stays extremely busy with his job at Microsoft. He is currently in transition and will be starting a new position in a few weeks. He is looking forward to a new challenge and thankfully still has a job after the lay-offs last week! He loves to go boating and fishing and always takes our many visitors on boating tours around Lake Washington, Lake Union and through the locks out into the Puget Sound. We have been on some fun trips in the Sound and to the San Juan Islands. Since we live in Redmond, "The cycling capital of the Northwest" he also enjoys cycling. We purchased new bikes last fall and enjoy riding together on the great network of trails near our home, or I guess I should say "enjoyed" riding together, I was out riding one afternoon in late September and managed to fall and break my leg so we haven't been able to ride together, Drew continues to ride outside when the weather is nice and inside on his stationary trainer when it's too wet or snowy outside.

Before breaking my leg I enjoyed riding my bike and walking on the trails around our home. I am currently serving as the Young Women's Secretary in our ward and really enjoy planting flowers and working in the yard in the summer. I enjoy decoratng and remolding our home. I love reading and being home to support my boys and my husband. I also love visiting Utah whenever I get a chance, to spend time with Erica, my family, and friends.


Here's how my ordeal happened--I was clipped into the peddles going up a steep hill, my chain came off when I was downshifting and I couldn't get my feet unclipped from the peddles fast enough and just fell right over with my foot stuck in the peddle and since bones can't bend, I broke my fibula along with some major soft tissue damage to my whole foot. (thankfully no one saw it happen so my pride wasn't hurt as well!) I spent the next 2 months on crutches which were not as easy to get the hang of as they look! I'm still going to Physical Therapy and feel like after spending 4 months laying on the couch with my foot up, my body will never be the same! I had so much help from good friends and especially the Relief Society from my church who brought food and helped clean my house, (even my boys bathroom that I hadn't been in for weeks, Lisa, you will get extra blessings for that service!) I'm so grateful for a church with such an amazing organization of women who so willing help and serve each other. I have to especially thank my good friend and fellow bike riding partner Dixie, who came to my rescue that day and helped me several times with cleaning and rides (it was my right leg so I was not able to drive for the first 6 weeks, I felt so trapped!) Drew and the boys were amazing through the whole thing. Poor Drew had to do everything from cooking to cleaning, carpools and trips to the Dr. he didn't complain and I am so grateful to have such a great husband! This experience sure has made me appreciate my health, my family, my friends, and my church! Now that my foot is almost better I am looking forward to a fun girls trip with Erica, my niece Mandy, and my sister Laurie to New York next month. My niece is on the Bingham High School Drill Team and they invited us to tag along for their Nationals trip this year. We are very excited to go to New York since we haven't been there before!