Friday, January 30, 2015

Flashlights and Lanterns

Boy! The past six months have flown by. Does anyone else feel like as life goes on, kids come along, jobs get busier, and responsibilities increase you're moving at hyperspeed and have tunnel vision? The end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 are moving so quickly. School is always 100mph, there's always more studying/preparation I could be doing, not to mention the extracurricular activities which are needed to beef up the residency resume. Seriously? This is like applying to med school all over again, but on steroids!

As far a Lauren's concerned, she's been grinding away at home projects, making lots of friends, putting in more time as a student of the gospel, and cooking up business ideas. That's not even counting the time we're busy chasing our nine month old turbo turtle around the house. Gee whiz Cal is here, there, and everywhere. He loves to play with cords, open and close books, push buttons on the TV/DVD remote, reorganize our movie collection, waddle behind his walker, and fill his belly with graham crackers and green beans.

So it's no wonder that when we get to a Friday afternoon (I always test Friday morning and have a little class until noon and then we're free for the weekend) it feels like the week has flown by. Then we're scheming how to make our weekend productive, eventful, fun, adventurous, and relaxed which makes for a fast weekend and we're back at it on Monday.

So you might be wondering, "what does this have to do with flashlights and Lanters?" Well, this week we learned about childhood development in class, specifically early childhood development. One of the highlights was that babies and adults learn differently. "Duh! You don't have to be a doctor to know that!" OK, but how are they different? In what ways do adults learn that kids don't and vice versa? The details of answering that question are a little more tricky. Simply stated, adults are like flashlights, when we want to learn something, we focus intently on it, like focusing the beam of a spotlight. During that time, other parts of our brain are seemingly "dark." Babies and small kids, on the other hand, are like lanterns. They don't focus their attention into a beam and hone in on one thing. Babies keep their minds open to many stimuli in the environment and try to soak in whatever their lantern light touches.

This probably isn't what the Lord was talking about in the scriptures when He admonishes us to be like little children, but I don't think He would disagree that we need to take time to be still, turn off our flashlights, and appreciate and enjoy the view in the lantern light.

Home Owner Prep

Living on Broadmeadow is a learning experience. I guess living in any home will be a learning experience in some way, but I'm referring to our experience as future home owners.

Busted pipes, flooding carpet, animals in the attack, low water pressure, and the occasional cockroach are some of the surprises we've encountered in seven short months of living here. Not to mention the jigsaw puzzle of where to put what, what to paint, how to hang pictures/decorations, where to hang them, what to buy, what to sell, etc. Then there are the projects that you know need to be done, but you don't know when you'll have the time, courage, money, or strength to do them. Exhibit A: our yard which at first glance looks reasonable when compared to our neighbors, but upon closer inspection reveals miniature briars, thorns, thistles and noxious weeds! Lauren and I came to the conclusion that we should give everything living within the perimeter of our sidewalk a few swigs of roundup and start over. Kinda like in the parable of the olive trees in Jacob 5 when the Lord feels like burning the orchard to the ground and starting over. And you know, I would have soaked the lawn this week if it hadn't been for our neighbor, Alex, who suggested trying other methods for lawn salvaging.

Remarkably, things are coming together very well and I can't take a smidgin of credit for it. Lauren has been at the helm sorting out both the good and bad surprises of our cozy home in San Antonio. And despite a few headaches over this and that, it's beginning to feel like home. The living room is highlighted with colorful plants, beautiful pictures, and comfy couches. It's the perfect balance of still feeling simple but not feeling empty. Lauren is also chipping away at painting some furniture in the kitchen and bringing that area of our home to life.

Hopefully I can work hard enough, and make enough, that one day we'll spend many nights planning the blueprint of our future home. Hopefully some of these early experiences and memories pop up here and there and give us insights the folks on Briar or Broadmeadow didn't have. And hopefully we'll look back on them with smiles on our faces and gratitude in our hearts for opportunities to figure out what we do and don't like. All in all, despite the minor hassles, home owner prep's one of the best courses of life Lauren and I have ever taken!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What a Day!

Last night, while we were getting ready for bed I was reviewing my day to Ryan and started laughing when I realized how horrible of a day it was:

  • Was over 30 minutes late meeting up with a friend because of an unplanned visit.
  • Traded babysitting with a friend so I could workout, and both her baby and my baby were awake and crying during my hour
  • When it was my turn, realized I forgot shoes and underwear so I had to go home first before the gym
  • Also realized the gas light was on so I would have to fill up on my way home
  • Forgot about dinner with a neighbor that required ingredients from a local indian store so I had to get the ingredients, fill up the car, then come home
  • Was so late to the gym that Ryan had already done his workout
  • The gas pump near the Indian store was randomly broken so I had to drive back on the busy road to find a different gas station, requiring I wait through 3 light changes because of the traffic
  • Poor baby Cal fell down stairs for the first time, making me feel like the worst mom
  • I forgot his food, yep, terrible mom award
  • Ryan locked me out of the house while I was finishing up dinner at the neighbors, so I waited outside for a good 20 minutes in the dark before a nearby friend came and rescued me.  All right during Cal's bedtime 
  • I had a lot I wanted to get done but after turning on my computer it just flashed a file folder with a question mark (and I just got it fixed!)

It really was quite the day.  But, amidst all the chaos were some gems:

  • My dear friend Jessica saw that I was almost in tears when she came back from working out, and told me to get all my errands done, workout and take my time and she could watch Cal however long it took.  
  • I filled up our car for under $20 and that was a day brightener!  
  • Had an amazing, butt-burning workout and felt rejuvenated
  • Our Indian dinner turned out AMAZING and I we have been blessed with wonderful, welcoming neighbors
  • Another sweet friend Nikelle rescued me from the dark to go get icecream with her family while I was waiting for Ryan, even when she never gets to see her husband.
  • Cal forgave me (I think?) and gave me cuddles and smiles before bedtime
  • Had an understanding husband to vent to and laugh with at the end of a long day

Although there were great things between the lines, I definitely don't need those days too often!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Austin & Crolsoms

We met the Croppers on a warm fall night in Provo, Utah (even though we are all from the Rogue Valley) and realized we lived just a few houses down on the same street in the "Tree Streets".  It is rare that both the wives and husbands get along, and it makes for a fun time.  So, needless to say, we were SO SAD when they moved away to Boulder, CO and kept in touch, always talking about a future day when we could get together.

Then, Frontier had a sale on plane tickets to Austin.  Boom.  

The Croppers and Folsoms (or as Ian said, "our celebrity name is 'Crolsoms'") had a great time.  We spent an evening up in Austin, and the entire Saturday.  We walked around Town Lake, canoed across the lake, visited Zilker Park, ate at the hyped-up Magnolia's for breakfast, feasted on the Cropper's Franklin's BBQ leftovers, walked up and down South Congress, checked out the Whole Food's Headquarters...

Poor Ian.  He offered to stay behind and watch the babe since we were too large of a group for one Canoe.  But it was fun to learn more about what it takes to be a part of Crew from Ashleigh, and to hear about her experience at UP.

A fantastic day!  We couldn't believe it was winter and we were out in the sun rowing across a calm lake.  Maybe Texas isn't that bad afterall ;)
There were turtles everywhere.
Then, we journeyed home to San Antonio Saturday night and feasted on some homemade Korean food.  Then, like the night before, stayed up until midnight just talking and catching up, laughing about fun times or forgotten moments and opening up and sharing personal thoughts and struggles.  We ate too many donuts, got sick off of I Heart Chocolate Blue Bell Ice cream, taught them how to play Snarf, had a fun garage workout, ate Rudy's and Torchy's Tacos, and enjoyed a feast put on by Chef Ian (if I could hire someone to cook for me the rest of my life, it would be him).  We love being able to confide in and learn from Ian and Ashleigh, and can tell we love their company when we would skip any kind of movie or game, just so we can keep talking until our sentences become unintelligible.

Then, on our last night we went down to the River Walk, and Ashleigh offered to take some family pics, both so we could get some cute pics and so she could practice her new skill.  That is also something I am impressed by - Ashleigh has no fear.  She has created a wonderful card business ( ), continues to teach herself Graphic Design, and has now ventured into Photography and is doing GREAT.  We had such a fun time.  (The pics below are raw and unedited, and even though she doesn't want me to show them yet I have to share a few.  Even untouched they are wonderful):

We treasured our time with those two.  And look forward to more Crolsom fun!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Christmas Break 2014

We were home from December 13th through January 5th - almost an entire month!  How we felt about it is pretty much summed up by the picture below:  

(Cal reeeeallly loved to swing at Mimi's)

We spent the first half of the break with the Folsom Fam.  We made yummy treats and watched some Harry Potters, played lots of cribbage (thanks for teaching us Hal!), wore all of Mindy's jackets, ate delicious food (including multiple bags of mint M&Ms), had some FFF at the nearby church building, went on hikes and runs, had family discussions, and of course had a memorable Christmas eve night (with a piƱata to boot) and a fun Christmas morning.  I especially loved learning how to make the famous Folsom Christmas Stocking from Grandma Nan, and am so excited to keep up the tradition.  

Ryan and I also loved having a sleep over with Em and Nate.  The kids were up with Mindy, so Rob and Ashley and Hal came over and we ate some Thai food, devoured cookies, and stayed up chatting into the wee hours of the morning.  I just kept thinking how lucky we were to have such good people in our lives.  Also, the Williams might have the coziest house around, with their incredibly warm fireplace and snuggly couch - it made for a dangerous combo. Sleeeeeeeeeeeep.    

We had a Thompson/Folsom talent night, and good ol St. Nick came to surprise everyone.  Then, after we tried to carol around the neighborhood and people saw us coming and literally ran to their car and drove away before we got their house. HA!  

The shepherd and his sheepie!  

Christmas night and a mug of "Christmas Crack"

The day after Christmas, it was Thompson time.  Anna's family flew in to surprise everyone, and it was the best present we could have been given!  For the first time ever, all the couples (and no kids) went out to see "Into the Woods" since Anna was in that play a long time ago.  I loved the music, although the storyline was a bit odd.

Then, we woke up the next morning and all the adults (and Aubrey!) played some pretty intense volleyball.  I have to say, the best part of the morning was blocking Ryan Millar :)  Anna was hilarious getting dominated by my dad's serves, and John Bell is actually amazing and never told anyone.  A BLAST.

Then, our sweet baby above, turned into the sad baby below.  He cut 4 teeth over the break, and was beyond miserable.  

But he had his good moments too.  He and sweet baby Jane (amazingly sweet baby Jane in fact) are going to be the best of friends. 

Then, a few days before New Years we all packed up and headed to the coast!  My mom came down with a nasty cold the night before, so we all packed and shopped for food, and planned the meals and snacks.  It was kind of fun actually!  Except for the fact that everyone hated my dinner (bunny food anyone?) but that's another story.

We went to the beach, Cal ate some handfuls of sand, we all played telestrations deep into the night, ate way too many dark chocolate and sea salt bars, had good laughs and even managed a few quiet walks along the shore.  

There is nothing quite like a Thompson game night.  My goofy sisters and their equally hilarious husbands, combined with my fun parents and Eric make it a game to remember.  I don't think any of us have ever laughed so hard during the telestrations game:

1. (ryan) Shoelaces
2. Erics drawing
3. (dad) Eating Celery
4. Anna's drawing
5. (Lauren) monster eating paintbrushes?

1. (alison) Katie's Legs
2. my drawing
3. (alex) long and skinny stick figure
4. Anna's drawing
5. (Eric) long-armed spank
6. Ryan's drawing
7. (katie) giving someone a muffin?

We had such an amazing time in Medford.  Most times, we are only there for a week or two and it feels really stressful, trying to make sure we spend quality time with every family member.  But this time, we felt relaxed and got to spend individual time with everyone.  A night with the Williams, a lunch with the Millars, an evening with Rob and Ashley, a game night at Eric's, and then time with parents and the whole group together.  We made good memories with Thompsons and Folsoms, and it really made us wish we were there all year long.  

Had to include this pic.  On one of the flights back to Texas we had to play serious keep away from the ladies hair in front of us...Cal was very intrigued. 
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Grandpa's Funeral

Every Valentine's Day, one of Ryan's "surprises" (he know's it is coming) is the past year's blog book.  It has been such a fun way to chronicle and relive some fun memories and we are so happy we started it when we did.  We have already gone through so much in our short almost four years of marriage, and it hopefully will be a way for our kids to get a peek into our younger years!  And think we are semi cool!

That being said, there are a few events in 2014 that I have yet to write about, so these next few days I hope to pack in some pictures and memories, before we officially begin 2015's blog posts.  

My Grandpa passed away the Monday before Thanksgiving, and it was a complete surprise.  He had gone down to lunch that afternoon, and slipped away during his afternoon nap.  Head resting back on his comfy chair, hands clasped together - a peaceful sleep.  Although it was a complete shock, and left many people regretful for not having seen him just one more time, everyone was filled with joy when we envisioned my sweet grandma waiting to embrace him.  He was so miserable without her, and we are grateful they are together again.  That is something I love about the church - our understanding and belief of a life after death brings so much peace to the soul.

Plans were quickly made and flights were booked in no time, and every grandchild but two (that makes...I think 24 of us?) made it out to the funeral.  The night before, we gathered in the small funeral home in downtown Malad, Idaho, and each and every one of us shared our memories of Grandpa.  Being the youngest grandchild, I didn't have too many memories that were as vivid and lively as my older cousins.  It made me feel like I got aced out after hearing such funny, or tender memories of him.  

Something that stood out to me was my grandpa's genuine desire to serve.  He was a pharmacist and would help anyone, at anytime, and anywhere.  And he was known for it.  He may not have ever had a leadership calling at church, or been a great example of reading the scriptures, but he lived a life of charity.  And that, to me, is all that matters to our Heavenly Father.  It is who we become and how we treat others, not just going through the motions.  

I hope to be like that, too.  

Ps.  After the funeral I got to spend a day and a half in Provo with some of the greatest people I know - the Palmers.  Wow.  I love them.  And miss them terribly.  

My BFF cousin Rachael and her sweet baby Maddie.  We do everything together, even plan babies ;)

What it actually takes to get babies to look at the camera, and to cover their coughs in the meantime (me)

My smokin' hot sisters (we missed you katie!!)

cant...look...into...the light....

Verlin Allen.  What a dapper dan.

This is probably my favorite picture of my grandparents.  They were 16 or 17 here, and just look like they are so happy and in love.  I also think my grandpa has serious style.

Cal lovin' on B Crow.  

On our way up the Y!

We made it!  We facetimed Ryan from the top, because it just didn't feel right to be up there without him.

Palmers.  The BEST people.

Visiting the Achesons.  Also dear, dear people.  A big part of our heart is still down the street from their house!  We miss you tree streets!

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