Thursday, June 25, 2009

Havasu Falls

I'm back, which I'm sure is a source of joy for all who missed me. I know that I have many faithful readers out there...

Life if getting back to normal after a vacation to Utah/Arizona in which Sally was left with my parents for part of the time. My parents did a great job with Sally--in fact, Sally liked my mom so well that she screamed and cried when I picked her up when I got back. I was crushed that my baby rejected me, but she soon warmed up to me again and thing are ALMOST back to normal. We've had a few struggles, though:

-Ever since Sally has been back in my care we've been having one continuous battle over the bink. My parents allowed her to have the binky whenever she wanted (I would have done the same if I had been watching someone else's child for 4.5 days), but that is not my style. I've been able to wheezle it away from her each day with much difficulty, but she is getting smarter and more careful about letting her guard down. I really want to be done with the darn thing for good. Any suggestions? After meeting with her pediatrician the other day, Neal and I tried taking it away from her cold turkey. That resulted in a very disturbed nap and 20+ minutes of screaming in her bed at night before I caved and gave it back. I'm weak, what can I say? She has great naps with the binky and I'm not ready to give up nap time!

-Sally seems to be starting into the terrible two's--tantrums (over the bink and many other things, half of which I'm not even aware of) have abounded lately, and whininess is almost becoming the norm. The slightest thing will set Sally off, and she'll flop the the ground and start crying to the point that she can't breath.

While the above behaviors are not acceptable (and time-out has been utilized many a time lately), I do think that they can in part be attributed to: the VERY hot, muggy, yucky weather in KC that we returned to, the shots that Sally got at the Dr., fatigue, and Sally's altered sense of security since she was left. Much of the time she's still my little sweetie!

Alright, the title of this post is Havasu Falls, so I guess I'd best get onto that...

Neal and I decided to try out a backpacking trip with our friends Mitch and Lexi and their family. I'd like to say that I had a great time, but I can't--I had a good time, and now that it's over, it's easier for me to remember the good times rather than the things I suffered.

Suffered? Indeed. I was sick with a pretty bad head cold for most of the trip, and I simply didn't feel well. Being sick isn't fun under normal circumstances, and when you add in inadequate restrooms (I won't even elaborate), heat, fatigue, and poor sleeping conditions, the effects are worsened. Enough of that.

We saw some pretty awesome sights and got to relax and spend time with our friends. Here's a quick synopsis of the trip:

Day 1: We hiked in starting at 5:00 A.M. The hike was 10 miles, and we carried everything we needed for the trip on our backs. My pack was about 35 lbs., Neal's was 65 lbs. We definitely learned our lesson for taking too much stuff: we were sore, stiff, and tired by the end of the hike! Later that day we went to one of the falls--getting there was quite an adventure. We climbed nearly straight down the mountainside (100 feet is my estimation) with the assistance of chains, ladders, and steps that have been added for safety. Everyone swam but me--I was afraid that the water would be too cold. I can be kind of a worry wart sometimes!

Day 2: We hiked all day to another of the falls. Unfortunately we didn't know the best route, and we had more adventures getting there (which included scaling a canyon wall and causing a small rock slide). It was pretty awesome when we did finally make it, though. I decided to swim that day and enjoyed it. The water was cold, but I got used to it quickly. Getting there and making our way back took the better part of the day.

Day 3: It was Sunday, so we had our own church meeting, and then Neal and I, along with a few others in our group, went to church. There was a church in the village, about 3 miles from our campsite. Unfortunately we underestimated the time we needed to get there, and we ended up pratically running all the way to get there by 10. When we did finally make it (we being me and Neal--the rest of the group was quicker, and Neal was kind and stayed with me) by 10:20, we found out that church didn't start until 11:00--a huge blessing to me since I REALLY wanted to go to church and I was praying all the way that I could make it. The church had a nice shady porch that we relaxed on before the meeting. After church we went to the final falls. Most people swam, but I opted out. It was nice to just relax after the mad dash to church in the heat of the day and enjoy the mist from the falls.

Day 4: We got up really early and hiked out. I wasn't feeling well enough to carry my pack out, so I, along with Lexi, hired the chopper to take it out for me for $20. It was well worth it, except that we had to wait around for quite a while after we made it out for our packs to arrive. The hike out wasn't too bad (thanks to the chopper!), and I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I was done.

There are a lot of other details I could have included--if you want to know more, just ask. Here are some of my favorite pics:

Hiking in

The first water fall we saw--after we passed through the village and before we got to our campsite (the most grueling part of the hike)

Me by my favorite of the falls we saw (Mooney, I think)

During the hike of Day 2 (we hiked up the river most of the way back)

The church in the village
All-in-all it was a good trip, and I'm glad for the experience. The scenery was beautiful and it was so neat to go to church and see the faithful members there. I wish I had been healthy so I could have enjoyed it more. I'll admit that I could have had a better outlook and worried less about Sally and my health--that would have helped. Next time we go on vacation, though, I get to choose the spot! :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's in It For Me?

After posting my wish list yesterday, I started thinking what a silly thing I had done. It's chigger and mosquito season in Kansas, but I think that I've been bitten by a much more harmful bug--the greedy bug.

For some reason lately I've been thinking quite a bit about fairness--mostly in terms of thinking that life isn't being fair to me for one reason or another (as if life is supposed to be fair!). I have quite an imagination, and sometimes while I'm playing with Sally or doing some not-so-mind-stimulating household chore I'll let my imagination get away from me, thinking up all kinds of grand plans in my perfect world or, sadly enough, going over past experiences thinking of why I got the short end of the stick and how that could be changed. Last night as I was doing the dishes was such a time. I was thinking back to the time right after I got married and was whisked away to the strange land of the midwest away from family, friends, and all that was familiar to me. The question popped into my head: "What's in it for me?" (as a question I could have asked Neal at the time). That was a hard time for me. I was definitely happy being married to Neal, but I really didn't see that much of him as he was trying to keep his head above water as a first year medical student.

Thankfully that question popped into my head for a good reason--it is the title of an excellent talk given by Elder Faust in the Oct. 2002 General Conference. I read it today, and here are some of my favorite parts:

"Selfishness is one of the baser human traits, which must be subdued and overcome. We torture our souls when we focus on getting rather than giving."

"Elder William R. Bradford once said: “Of all influences that cause men to choose wrong, selfishness is undoubtedly the strongest. Where there is selfishness, the Spirit of the Lord is absent. Talents go unshared, the needs of the poor unfulfilled, the weak unstrengthened, the ignorant untaught, and the lost unrecovered.”"

"The Savior reminds us, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” One of life’s paradoxes is that a person who approaches everything with a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude may acquire money, property, and land, but in the end will lose the fulfillment and the happiness that a person enjoys who shares his talents and gifts generously with others."

I have a great life and even if I never get any of the things on my wish list it will still be great. I'm so glad that the Spirit can help us remember things to help keep us on track. At the beginning of this year I was talking to one of my friends about resolutions for 2009, and I told her that I wanted to be more generous. Generosity is roughly synonymous with unselfishness, so I'm obviously still working on it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wish List Revised

A few months ago I posted a short wish list, and looking back, many of my wishes were granted, so it's time for a new one.

-A sectional couch
-New carpet
-Crown molding throughout my house
-New bedding
-Cute clothes (someone PLEASE nominate me for "What Not to Wear")
-A truck (for Neal)
-World peace

Neal and I are known as being quite the thrifty couple, but during the last few months we've put our reluctance to spend on hold for a few good causes. In the past few months we've purchased:

-A new mattress (a MUCH needed item, as we had been sleeping on a $20 garage-sale find our entire marriage)
-Insulation for our previously uninsulated family room which once was a garage (any guest who has stayed at our house will tell you that this was greatly needed)
-A riding lawn mower (also much needed in my mind, since Neal is soon to be working 80 hours a week and I'd rather have him spend his free time with me and Sally rather than mowing our HUGE yard with a push mower)
-A plasma screen TV (not much needed in my mind, but Neal has wanted one for a long time and I think he deserves a nice graduation gift for all he's gone through over the past 4 years)
-A vacation to the Grand Canyon, which we are leaving for next week (which will provide some much needed time away for me and Neal--Sally will be with Grandma and Grandpa Dickson)
-A new:

Okay, just kidding on that last one, but Neal did take it for a test drive. He's enjoying the title of Dr. very much.