Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Treasuring the Present: Movies with Mom

Last night, my mom and I stayed up to watch a movie we have seen many times...

Last night's movie, was not an old classic that I grew up enjoying with Mom and Dad, but rather  movie that Mom fell in love with a few years ago -- I still don't think I get all the jokes, but she just thinks it is HYSTERICAL!  We watched "Something's Gotta Give" -- definitely an adult movie and SO funny!

My mom and I love movies... but especially movies we both have seen several times and we can recite lines along with the characters.  From this movie, we have:
"His car doesn't have headlights?"
"It's like an epidemic."
"I can't decide if you hate me... or if you're like the only person who ever really got me."
"Let's just not brag about this to your doctor."

"You see that look on your face.  That's the gene I didn't get."
"I have never lied to you.  I have always told you some version of the truth."

What precious days these are when my dad is asleep in the hide-a-bed, my kitty is asleep on top of the refrigerator, my hubby and puppy are safe and sound in Rifle -- all is right with the world, and Momma and I get to stay up a little longer and laugh together.

It's just the two of us, relaxing... hearing each other laugh -- the movie doesn't matter -- relaxing together matters.  Complete peace and contentment with laughter together is what matters.

These are such precious moments.

image signature

Monday, January 30, 2012

American Troubles

I have been stranded with a disabled vehicle twice on Interstate 70 in the past 4 days.

Two different vehicles
Two different causes
Two different places -- although the same county
Two long, slow drives home with a questionable vehicle (once in a tow-truck, once on a spare tire)
Two different amounts of help provided on the scene

One amazing factor consistent in both situations of my being stranded on the side of Colorado's busiest Interstates -- I was married to the most amazing, considerate, protective, calm and loving man in the world!

On Wednesday afternoon, my alternator died on the Interstate.  First my radio went off, then my car started lurching, then, before I could make it to the next exit, my car went completely dead -- just turned off while I was going 60mph on the Interstate.  (I was going 60, because my car started lurching when I accelerated, so I couldn't travel the posted 75mph speed limit).  My hubby was on the phone with me the entire time the car was dieing and he immediately knew my alternator was causing the trouble.  My amazing husband nearly left his classroom of students, got in his truck to drive the 60 miles to keep me company on the side of the road because he hated the idea of my having to sit on the side of a busy Interstate alone.  He was talking me through all the aspects of the situation over the phone and keeping me calm and logical.  I was on the side of I-70 for over almost two hours... my hazard lights died and the policeman who we asked to arrive on the scene to help attract attention to the scene for passing cars never showed up.  I was in my work car and it swayed every time a car/truck/trailer/SUV/semi whizzed past me in the right lane.  Four hours later, I was safely at my office, filthy, exhausted and feeling as though I had been through a ringer.  I just wanted to curl up in my hubby's arms and go to bed!

Last night, my driver's-side rear tire blew on my way home from skiing Vail and spending some time with my parents.  My hubby had spent the day on Vail Mountain with a group of Middle School students he organized for a Ski and Snowboard Outreach Program.  We were both headed home at the same time -- I with our puppy, and my Hubby with some of his students.  First my tire light came on, then I heard a pop... and then I had pulled over to the side of the road.  In no time at all, my hubby's truck had pulled over behind me and he was on the phone with the Local Authorities to let them know that we were on the side of I-70 working on a blown tire.  Two middle-schoolers kept our puppy calm and comfortable in my van while Chris and I found the spare, used the car jack and made the switch.  When I say "Chris and I" did those things... well, I wasn't even able to get the jack out of its compartment in my van without Chris' help -- does your car have a knob you have to turn to even get the car jack out of its compartment?  Apparently mine does!  Chris was amazing!  He did everything in no time at all.  Before I knew it, a tow truck had come and had his lights flashing to make sure that the other drivers were aware of our presence... it was over as quickly as it began.  The longest part of the ordeal -- driving 45mph with my hazard lights on the rest of the 70 miles home (while the other drivers were doing the posted 75mph speed limit)... those were LONG SLOW miles!  Two hours later, I had arrived home filthy, exhausted and feeling as though I had done the drive in horse-and-carriage instead of automobile.  I just wanted to curl up in my hubby's arms in bed!

I have to say, being stranded over 50 miles from my house with a disabled vehicle, on the side a major, busy Interstate twice in four days has taken a little toll on me.  Mostly, I don't want to drive on I-70 again for about a week!  The thing is, I drive on I-70 nearly every day... at least 4.5 days a week for work... often as many as 150 miles a day (almost entirely on I-70).  That being said, I know I have been so fortunate in these cases.  I have arrived home safely in each of these situations and not even so much as an animal has been hurt in the process.

As I reflect on both of these situations, I keep thinking that they were both unpleasant (although I did fall more in love with my hubby watching him change my tire and show concern for my well-being), and a hassle.  The thing that keeps coming back to me is that I had a relatively typical American Problem... my car broke down -- two of my cars broke down, once each, in four days.  This is what an American Problem looks like.

I have a great job.  I have a loving family.  I enjoy hobbies (like skiing).  I have an amazing, WONDERFUL husband.

My car(s) broke down doing my job, coming from seeing my family, coming from an amazing day of skiing, and my hubby was either literally or emotionally by my side the entire time, helping me in person or over the phone every step of the way.

In both of these cases, there were no trips to the hospital, no one was starving, no one was freezing to death (sure, it was a little cold outside the car, but nothing fatal), no children were in trouble, no one was sick, no one was in hiding, no one was being threatened or persecuted, no one was unloved... there were no real problems in my problematic, relatively annoying situation.

It is humbling to think of other places and situations in our world where people are in hospitals, starving, freezing to death, children are in trouble, people are sick, in hiding, threatened and persecuted, unloved...  My troubles are a few hours of time and a hassle to get my car working.

My troubles are not troubles at all.

image signature

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Times that Change

Chris and I had a wonderful part of the weekend (Friday night and Saturday) hosting my parents in our little Rifle home.  We so enjoy having them as our guests and enjoying our home to contrast all the times we stay at their home and enjoy being their guests.

Marrying Chris has changed the dynamics of how I relate to my parents.  When we are without Chris (either on a car ride or a walk), we easily slip back into our old three-person family dynamic, but when Chris is there, our conversations are different simply because Chris is there to provide a fourth-person perspective and insight.

Specifically, I notice that we share more "couple" stories... I have heard more stories about how my mom and dad relate to one another as husband and wife since Chris and I became husband and wife (so seven months) than I have in the past 25 years.  My parents are still my parents, of course, but they relate to us as a young married couple as opposed to "our little girl and her boyfriend" -- I have really noticed a difference.

Last night at dinner, someone we began telling stories about before each of us were married, there was one or two occasions where someone was "this close" to throwing in the towel and saying "This relationship is not for me!"  Chris and I shared how each of us had that moment in the Summer of 2010 while on our baseball road trip and I heard a few stories I had never heard about before my parents were married and when my mom was ready to say, "Enough!  I surrender.  Relationship over!"

Now, when I say they were stories I had never heard, you need to know, Sandens are MASTERS of telling stories OVER AND OVER again!  I have told Chris several times that he has married me, and therefore, married my stories.  He is going to hear stories more than once because sometimes they just need to be told again.  I get this re-telling trait directly from my parents.  So for me to say that at age 28 years old I had NEVER heard these stories is REALLY SOMETHING!

While discussing where God might take Chris and me in the future, and while my parents were reflecting on where God had brought them over the years, my mom brought up the irony of their annual January trips to Vail.

My parents have traveled to Vail in January every year since they were married (except for the January I was born).  For years they have always said, it is their yearly honeymoon trip for just the two of them in their favorite spot.  For the past three years, ironically, their January Vail honeymoon is now the Sanden Family Vacation.  My brother and his family come from Seattle, and I live in the area.  They see more family and stay busier on their two week "romantic honeymoon" than they do in February and March combined!

With sweet satisfaction and contentment on their faces they explained how Vail used to be such a needed getaway for just the two of them... and now, they have most every day just the two of them, and Vail is such a nice family vacation to spend with their two children and the children's spouses and their grandchildren and grand-critters.

How much time changes things... how precious these times with my parents are to us.  We praise God for every memory like the ones made yesterday that we are given.

image signature

Friday, January 27, 2012

Out of Sorts

Yesterday, I was just out of sorts.  Do you ever have a day when you're just out of sorts?  I do and yesterday was one.

I told myself all day how fortunate I was and how the things that were irritating me were blessings and NOT IRRITATING at all in the big scheme of life, and when I consider the REAL problems in this world, and I prayed that the Lord would change my heart to one of gratitude instead of cantankerous... unfortunately, I remained moody and irritable.

I was simply out of sorts.  The below book could be called "Brookie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" today...

I went to PINTEREST and searched "Bad Mood" and "Bad Day" and didn't get any matches that actually fit Bad Mood or Bad Day -- I got matches with picture captions like "Mood Boards" and "I want this so bad", but nothing regarding a bad mood or bad day... or even to get out of a bad mood or bad day.  I think the answer here is that people don't come to Pinterest in a bad mood... 

On Pinterest, this picture had me laughing pretty hard...
In an effort to put mind over matter and kick this crabby attitude, I didn't what any modern 20-something would do: I GOOGLED "How to get out of a bad mood"  The results were relatively useful and definitely amusing...

Women's Day Magazine had some fun suggestions
  • Start a Blog (this suggestion made me laugh out loud as I had already begun this post when I did the Google search... guess I'm ahead of the game already)
  • Put yourself in the movies (I wasn't quite sure what to do with this... they suggested that you imagine what a movie character would do... I don't know that my bad mood imagination is that good)
  • Touch your toes (Dr. Oz says this relieves stress)
  • Tune Up The Tunes and Show off your moves (I think these go together... guess its time to sing and dance... Good thing my hubby isn't home at the moment)
  • Put photos on the fridge (Evidently, people are happier with many family photos in their home... I actually have a lot of family photos in our home, so I hate to think how moody I would be if they weren't there...)
  • Create a new code (Their suggestion is to change a password on email or something to something fun... I'm pretty sure I would promptly forget that I changed the password, which would not make my day better)
  • Send out good vibes (They suggest that you text three friends and tell them what you like about them... well, I did write three letters today -- you remember, the old fashioned text message/email)
All in all, some fun, if not funny suggestions... I was having fun by this point sharing suggestions and my thoughts on the suggestions, so I checked out a few more sites including Dumb Little Man -- this should be interesting:
  • Fight the urge to mope (This is good advice and something I do need to fight when I'm in a bad mood...)
  • Laugh (my hubby would love this advice... I just have a hard time laughing when I'm in a bad mood.  Things I usually find funny suddenly become annoying and patronizing... the Dumb Little Man did have a link to a laughing yoga video, so I felt I should try his laughing yoga technique in order to appropriately judge the suggestion -- I think I scared my cat with my crazy laughing, but I think my mood was a little better afterwards...)

  • Take an Action Toward a Goal (I think this is good advice... even when I'm in my worst moods, if I can talk myself into starting just a small step of a project, I know I'm going to feel better -- just start one load of laundry, just vacuum one room -- just unload the dishwasher, I know I'm going to feel better and I'll probably be on a role and I'll keep cleaning)
  • Exercise (This is great advice as well, although, I confess exercise is one of the toughest things for me to do when I'm in a bad mood)
  • Treat Yourself (He suggests maybe chocolate cake or a movie... well, when I eat junk food when I'm in a bad mood, I don't really think of it as "Treating Myself" so much as I think of my trying to find comfort in food -- which is a bad habit, so I don't agree with this advice -- I don't think I should reward myself for being in a bad mood)
Well, that's the skinny for today... my opinion on a few suggestions to change your mood.  But I have to say, I think the very first suggestion "Start a Blog" may be one of the best... because, at the end of this blog post, I'm feeling better.

I think the bottom line of the entire post, and the entire point of getting out of a bad mood is well summed in this picture from PINTEREST


Thanks, y'all.  :-D

image signature

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Skiing With Jake

Last Saturday, I went up to Vail to ski with my oldest nephew and my brother during their one Vail ski day of the year.

It is so much fun watching a new generation begin to love Vail Mountain like the past generations have come to do...

 By the time I met up with Trent and Jake, they were having a mountain snack...

We got a few pictures taken of all three of us...

 But I mostly took pictures of them skiing...

Don't worry, Jake.  If you're not falling, you're not learning...

Thanks for a great day, Vail Mountain!
image signature

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Treasuring the Present Tuesdays

This past week, I have had an idea on my heart for a weekly post about treasuring the present in life.

Nothing stays the same and I find myself trying to cherish little things in the now and thanking the Lord for them, but I don't know that I am actually recording them for later record.

A great example is when my little kitten Lexie was about 8 eight weeks old, she went through a phase for about a month when she thought every morning from 2-4 am was playtime.  She would pounce on my feet, my hands, my face, my chest... and I was NONE TOO PLEASED with the game.

Lexie at 8 weeks of age
I was in a bunk bed with a futon couch on the bottom and my bed on the top.  Every morning, (and by morning, I mean the span of 2am-4am) I would lean over the side of my bunk bed with her in my hand and gently drop her onto the couch below.  My message to her was, "This is not the time for a game.  I am sleeping!"  She thought the drop onto the couch was a part of the game, and she would race back up to me on the top bunk and pounce on my feet again.

This time in Lexie's life was not my favorite... but now that she is three-and-a-half, and a full grown cat, and she has yielded her spot on our bed to our dog, my heart longs for those 2am mornings that she thought was playtime.

Lexie a grown-up cat who doesn't wake me up at 2:00am anymore
This is not an example of a present treasure... but every Tuesday, I plan to share something happening at present that I am treasuring.

Sunday night, my whole side of Chris and my family was in Vail together (my parents, brother, his wife, their two boys, my hubby and me).  At dinner, both of my nephews wanted me to sit next to them (so I sat in the middle) and then took turns telling me knock-knock jokes.
Here, the 5-year-old and I are playing tug-of-war with Lloyd... it took both of us to give him a challenge
Here, my dad (Papa) is playing Rock-Paper-Scissors with the 3-year-old
 The jokes the 3-year-old told me made no sense at all... and he loved that I laughed at them.  The jokes that the 5-year-old told me were old classics like "Knock, knock; Who's there? Banana.  Banana who?... Knock, knock; Who's there? Banana.  Banana who? (you all know the rest and you know it can go on and on)... and he loved how much I laughed.

Here, my mom (Gammie) is playing cars with both boys (the 3-year-old is behind her)
The 5-year-old and my hubby are both walking Lloyd
It took some effort to laugh at these jokes, but it was such a blessing to laugh at my nephews' jokes.  I only see them a few times each year and I am aware, they will not always both want to sit next to me, and they will not always want to tell me innocent little jokes.

Very few things are more cute than a five-year-old and a puppy playing in the snow
I am so grateful for these times with them.

What present moments are you treasuring?

image signature

Monday, January 23, 2012

Family Weekend = Exhaustion!

This past weekend, my parents, my brother and his family all spent the weekend in Vail.  On Saturday, I went up to ski with my oldest nephew and my brother, and on Sunday, Chris and I went up to spend the day with the family.

This weekend included 368 miles of driving (92 miles from Rifle to Vail... four times), 2 nephews ages 5 and 3, 2 parents, 2 siblings (brother and sister-in-law), 1 hubby, 1 puppy in a 1 bedroom condo with 9 inches of snow... it was really fun and exhausting!

I took a bunch of pictures, but for today, I will just share the "group" pictures that were an adventure to get...

The Sanden men, my dad, brother and nephews

My parents and their grand kiddos

Trying to get a group shot with a camera remote... even Lloyd is in the picture

Another try

 I think this is the best one

 Lots of fun, but I am SO tired.  A week of work might be relaxing after this past weekend...

image signature

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thrills and Spills on Vail Mountain

I went skiing yesterday with my brother and nephew on Vail Mountain.

We had a great time, and we were fortunate to see a mogul/free-style skiing event happening on the mountain.  We spent some time watching the thrills and spills of the ski racing event:

Problem with pictures at the moment...

This, Folks, is why ski racers wear helmets!

image signature

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dream Wedding: Pre-Ceremony Behind the Scenes

Please prepare for photo overload (I know... it's never happened on this blog before... ever!)  The below pictures are all "Behind the Scenes" before our wedding.  These pictures are a great blend of pictures from our photographers and from our friends... the best combination EVER!

The men arrive...

 Organizing the boutonnieres

How do these bow-ties work?

Chris has it down, no problem!

The best man, Chris' brother Nick, on the other hand, needs help

Lookin' spiffy!

I really like this shot

Chelsea soon became the boutonniere-attacher extraordinaire!

Thank you, Chelsea!

Really, Thank you, Chelsea!

I hate to think what these boutonnieres would have looked like without you!

My parents, in a brief moment of quiet

Cups of sand ready to be poured into our carafes

I had wonderful friends guarding these sand tables so no disasters occurred

Time to wear the dress!

This dress was worn by my sister in 1988

We did a few alterations and it was very special to wear her dress

Momma helped zip it up

I guess the "mother zipping the bride's dress" is a "must-have" picture

Thanks for the help, Momma!

Pretty giddy, finally in the dress!

Wow... I'm really doing this!

Okay... what's next?

The guys were hilarious (demonstrating the map of Michigan on their hands, and getting things out of their teeth)

He is my brother now too...

"I pledge allegiance, to Chris and Brooke..."

The gentlemen got to hang out in the air-conditioned library

Brother Nick/Best Man (notice the ring boxes in front of him on the table)

"Get me to the church on time" -- wait, I'm here and there's time to kill.

My nephews were the ring bearers.  Here they are with my brother (their dad)

Sanden men (my brother and nephews)

Groom, Groomsmen, Father of the Groom and Ring Bearers
l-r: my brother, Chris' dad, Chris (groom), Chris' brother-in-law, Chris' brother, Chris' friend (my nephews are the ones being held)

When the boutonniere goes on the ring bearer, you know the time is drawing close

Very suave

Chris and his mom

My grandpa on the left and Chris' grandpa on the right introducing themselves... I love this picture!

 Chris and I gave each other a card on our wedding day and here Best Man, Nick is giving Chris' card to me to my friend (and wedding greeter), Mary Carol

Some of Chris' extended family hanging out

Chelsea not only pinned all the boutonnieres... she also took a MILLION pictures throughout the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding and reception.  Many of these pictures are courtesy of her!  THANK YOU, CHELSEA!

In this picture, my cousin is pushing me forward toward my dad and I am saying, "What are you doing?  Why are you pushing me?"

"Oh, you want a picture..."

"I get it now.  This is a cute picture."

One of my favorite pictures of my Daddy and me on my wedding day

A few moments of rest and water

Mom didn't relax at all  :-D

Opening the wedding card from my soon-to-be-hubby

Showing the envelope to the camera

It was a very beautiful card and his note was perfect

A few very select family members were invited to say hello before the ceremony

Meghan and Megan and little Remy Lee... it was so amazing to watch people from all corners of the country, and all parts of my life come together and get to know each other and have fun together

A few precious moments with just my bridesmaids before the ceremony... here I am telling them about the charm attached to my bouquet in honor of my sister.

Here we are praying together

One of the best parts before the ceremony

These lovely greeters are ready for guests...

image signature