Friday, June 30, 2017

Complacency. There are no atheists in foxholes.

It's when crap hits the fan that we remember what really matters.  And last night, when crap hit the fan, I remembered.  Although if I could go back and change the course of last night I would in a heart beat, now that it's over I can look back and be very grateful for the experience.  I am so grateful for the experience because it puts life in perspective when so often it is easy to become complacent.  It's easy to get caught up in the rat race of every day life.  It's easy to forget.  And then crap hits the fan.

But I should probably back up and tell the story so the previous paragraph makes sense.

To celebrate Jason's rockstar score on his super duper hard pharmacology test he took, we invited Nick, Jason's study partner, his wife Bridget, and Jason's little brother and wife Jared and Ali to go boating with us after work. We went to a different lake than we've ever been to up Parley's Canyon called Rockport.  It was kinda a fiasco to get there.  The rush hour traffic took us long than expected, pulling a boat up Parley's Canyon was a struggle, and getting to the boat dock at Rockport took forever.  Long story short, when we thought our boating outing would start at like 5:30 we didn't get on the lake until about 7.  As we were driving up to Rockport I was looking on Instagram and started to see all sorts of stories from people southwest of us talking about a gnarly crazy wind/lightening/downpour storm.  As I saw the videos of the storm I started to get really nervous but of course I am a nervous person and tried to downplay my real feelings.  By the time we started to even put the boat into the water there was lightening in the sky.  (If I had it my way we would have just turned around right that second and headed out.  But I am a party pooper when it comes to danger so I tried to bite my tongue.)  I felt bad that we had dragged 4 people up to this lake, Bridget and Nick even had to get a babysitter for their 4 month old.  So I figured we had to at least TRY to get on the water.  So we pulled out of the boat dock (No harbor at all) and went on our way.  Jason and Nick were super excited to try out this new device they got so our boat could make a wake surf.  It worked!  Nick and Jason were so excited.  Nick decided he would go first.  He got up on the wake surf as the wind started blowing super hard.  Everyone was excitedly watching Nick as I was watching the storm.

Once Nick fell, everyone else started to realize how bad the storm was.  It was a huge challenge for us to even get the boat to Nick to pull him out of the water.  At this point I made the executive decision that we needed to head straight back to the boat ramp.  At this point the storm was upon us.  Luckily there was very few raindrops but the wind was strong.  The waves were starting to get super big.  We were able to pull up to the dock long enough for Jared to jump off the boat to go get the trailer.

This is when the real fun began.  The waves were about 4 feet high and were pushing us into the rocky shore.  Jason had to keep trying to drive the boat farther out into the lake so we didn't crash into the rocks.  Huge waves would cash down on us soaking everyone including Brad and me huddled underneath the dashboard in the boat.  Jason was trying frantically to just keep the boat at an angle so we didn't capsize, our boat was filling with water, and we had to scream to be heard over the wind.  I just rocked Brad back and forth as I sang Primary songs into his ear.  I have to say right now Brad was an absolute champion.  Absolute Champion.  The only time he screamed out crying was when the waves directly hit our face.  The rest of the time he just whimpered as I held him in my arms.

I on the other hand was about to absolutely lose it.  At one time as the boat swayed up and down over a huge wave I was literally considering jumping out with Brad.  (Yes crazy mom.)  Jason pushed me down and yelled that we would be okay.  We watched as another boat that was also in the water tried to put their $100,00 boat on their trailer damaging it because they couldn't control the boat due to the wind and waves.  The waves were too big to get our boat on the trailer, the waves and wind were too strong to pull the boat to the dock, we just had to hunker down and wait.  With every wave that crashed into us I just held Brad tighter and wondered what in the world we had gotten ourselves into.

Although I don't wish to be in that experience again, and I don't wish it upon anyone, especially a mom holding her baby... I am so grateful for that moment.  It reminds me of the saying, "There are no atheists in foxholes."

I was so grateful that I felt I could pray to God and He would help us. And every once in a while I think it is so good for us to be in that type of position. A position where we are scared out of our mind and have no where to turn but to Him.  It's good to remember what we are fighting for in this life.  Why we are trying to be good.  Why we are trying to keep the commandments.  So when a time like this comes we can confidently turn to Him and feel His support.  It reminded me why I want to be on His side.

Jason was worried about how much weight was on the boat with the added water, so he decided that we should try and get someone off the boat.  Obviously Brad and I were the last people he wanted to get off because it would be quite the feat jumping from the boat to the dock in the waves and the wind so he told Ali to get ready, he was going to get as near to the dock as possible.  When I saw there was a huge chance that someone was getting off that boat at that moment, I held tight to Brad, stood up, without consulting anyone, scrambled up to the front of the boat, and when he got close, I pushed Ali out of the way and jumped right off.  I didn't even think twice about it. I just held on tight to Brad and jumped.  (Luckily Ali is an absolute sweetheart and has forgiven me for doing something so selfish.)

I have never been so excited to be off the water.

As soon as I got into the car with Jared, I just burst into tears.  I was shaking uncontrollably. Like I said.  I was a wreck.

Luckily for all of us, the storm passed over us almost as quickly as it came.  Within a half hour the lake had calmed down and Jason was able to get the boat on the trailer as the sun was setting.    

And we all survived.  These sweet girls survived too.  (Yes, looking at the water you would have no idea that only minutes before the perfect storm almost ate us for dinner.)

Sweet Ali with Brad the champion.

And the whole crew.  It's crazy how after you go through an experience like that with people, you are totally bonded in a different way.  

And we learned our lesson.  Jason said he'd never seen a lake like that before in all his years of boating.  And hopefully we will never see it like that again.  From now on, I will be the wimpy, whiny Mom that says when it is stormy we should stay on firm ground. :)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Waunder Lust Wall

I am not a decorator.  In the world I come from, you throw a painting on the wall and call it home.  Luckily I am very fortunate to have quite a few amazing paintings so at least my walls aren't bare.  Anyway, obviously I also love to travel and take pictures.  So I figured it was time to hang up some of my pictures.  But when I looked at the prices of frames I decided against it.  Sure you can find frames at IKEA for $5ish but times that by 16 pictures, plus printing the pictures and that's quite an investment!  (Like I said, I am not a decorator! So spending any money on making a home more aesthetic is completely foreign to me.)

Then we helped clean out my grandparent's home.  More frames than anyone knew what to do with!  So I took as many as I wanted.  Then came the hard part of trying to figure out what pictures to print???  I went through all the pictures of my travels and narrowed it down to about 30.  Then I made my friends look through and select their favorite 16.

Jason helped me paint all the frames white.
I went through and organized how I wanted the frames to look on the wall. (Ignore the folded laundry)

Although you can't tell from the picture, my mom (the framing pro) helped me clean all the glass and frame all the pictures.  (In the picture she was busy watching one of her BBC shows)

And then of course I had to have Jason help me do the hanging.

And although once again, I am not a decorator, I think it turned out pretty darn lovely!  Of course whenever anyone comes over it turns into a guessing game of where each picture was taken.  Do you want to try?

Some are relatively easy, some are quite difficult.

Starting on the left.  Then going top down.
1. Old City, Dubrovik, Croatia
2. Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
3. Mesa Falls, Idaho
4. Victoria, Canada
5. Siena, Italy
6. Dinkelsbuhl, Germany
7. Prague, Czech Republic
8. Havasupi Falls, Arizona
9. Florence, Italy
10. Grand Tetons, Wyoming
11. Castle, Prague, Czech Republic
12. Avalon, Catalina Island
13. Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
14. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
15. Waimea Falls, Hawaii

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Returning "Home"

The idea of home is such an interesting concept.  Some people feel home one place will always be their home while others feel it everywhere, but there are some who feel it no where.  It is so different for everyone.  Even the word gives off such an air of emotion.

I always seem to forget the emotions that come to me about the area between West Yellowstone, Montana and Idaho Falls, Idaho and from Jackson Hole to the Mennan Buttes.  I could call it the greater Snake River Valley or I could call it "Idaho" but really for me, so much of it just feels like Home.  My dad would call it God's Country.  And it's hard to argue that.

As I was driving up to "Idaho" this week, I was just flooded with so many emotions.  Although I spent birth to 5 years old in this area and many scholars would argue that this is where the most important learning of life takes place, I feel my second time in Idaho was even more important.  The years I grew up.  Ages 18-22.  Growing up is hard.  It's a maze of exploration and of wrecking balls that haphazardly swing at will.

For better or for worse, I feel the years I spent in Idaho settled and cemented the person I am today.  So every time I head north towards this land of farm land, sunsets, and an unbelievable amounts of mosquitos I get nostalgic.

As I spent the peaceful moments of the 4 hour drive while Brad slept I played through my mind all the memories, all the heart aches, all the struggles, but of course all of the love that was developed through my years in these lands.  There will always be a very special place in my heart for it.  It's like calls to me.  Almost like a pilgrimage I have to take at least once a year.   So when Erica told me she was going to be hanging out in Idaho for a week I jumped at the opportunity to go hang out with her.  I feel like I have a check list of all the things I need to do when I go to Idaho.  One of the most important: go for a walk at golden hour to watch the sunset as the day starts to cool and the smell of alfalfa rings through the air.  Brad even met some cows!

Brad is obsessed with all things wheels right now.  As long as it has wheels he loves it.  Oh and buttons, any buttons to push or pull or turn.  So Brad and the tractor quickly became best friends.

The next morning I went for a glorious run around the farm fields of Teton.  Oh how I love Idaho.

And of course those glorious Teton Mountains.

Erica and I and our boys went to reminisce in her old stomping grounds, St. Anthony.  I feel like St. Anthony is such a hidden gem.  It is absolutely beautiful with it's one stop light, beautiful parks, and the glorious Snake River running right through town.

The purpose of our trip to St. Anthony was to eat at one of the 3 eating establishments in town, Big J's.  We shared a pizza bomb.  And I must say, I had very low expectations and it was absolutely delicious!

But my favorite part of the whole experience watching the people of St. Anthony.  The people of St. Anthony give me so much hope for the world.  The table behind us was filled with 7 farmers from 3 different generations.  Some in overalls, others in cowboy boots, all with farmers tan's and baseball caps.  I absolutely loved listening in on their conversation.  One was talking about a high squeal pitch and I was afraid they were complaining about Brad.... so I listened closely.    Sure enough, they were talking about some piece of machinery and how to fix it.

Later we also went out to the Mennan Buttes to visit Franci.  Because of my European adventures last summer, I didn't get to be with Franci last summer and oh how I missed her!  She had another baby since I last saw her making a grand total of 5 girls!  She isn't much into technology so if I want to communicate with her, I have to be with her, which I don't mind a bit.  But here was the crazy thing in this world of technology of ours.... As I was talking to Franny, I got a message on Facebook from our cousin Sharla, who currently lives in Aukland, New Zealand.  She had seen something on Facebook about a house in Mennan and she was afraid it was Franny's house.  So she messaged me, is Franci okay???  And I sent her this picture.

As Erica and I were looking through Franci's fancy dancy cookbooks we saw a recipe and thought, uh oh.  It was a completely different recipe for French Macarons!!!!!  So of course we had to make them.  (I updated my previous post about French Macarons and included the recipe because they WORKED!)

And Erica and I are ABSOLUTELY thrilled to finally have created a perfect macaron so we can move on to another delicious treat!  (Hopefully one that is a little bit easier.)

The Parson Trio.
What was Brad doing all this time you ask?  He was in straight up heaven!  He loved all the kids around AND of course in a house full of girls, he found some wheels.  (If you look at his face he is making the motor sound as he pushes the stroller around)

And he got just as attached to Idaho as I am!  He didn't even want to leave.

When the nostalgia kicks in and I am thinking about Idaho I am just bursting with emotion.  Of course it is darn near impossible to describe all of this.  It's so overwhelming and almost too personal to even try.  But of course you know me, I want to try.  And the best way I can think of to describe it all is through songs.  So here is a list of all the songs that remind me of "Home."

Kristin Parson's Idaho Playlist:

The Beetles - Good Day Sunshine
Simon and Garfunkel - The Boxer
Counting Crows - Mrs. Potter's Lullaby
Weezer - The Good Life
Simon and Garfunkel - Homeward Bound
Jewel - You Were Meant for Me
Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
Dashboard Confessional
MxPx - Without You
No Use for a Name - Room 19
Rancid - Journey to the End of East Bay
All American Rejects - Swing Swing
Taking Back Sunday - The Bike Scene
Toby Keith - Shoulda Been a Cowboy
Tim McGraw - Green Grass Grows
Good Charlotte - Girls and Boys
Norah Jones - Come Away with Me
Jewel - Near You Always
Yellowcard - Only One
Blink 182 - I Miss You
AFI - Sing the Sorrow album
Madd Caddies - Good Intentions
No Use for a Name - International You Day
Jimmy Eat World - Just Watch the Fireworks
Montgomery Gentry - Speed

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

If you saw the tittle and said, "Uh oh, here we go again.... another person jumping on the 'get rid of everything' minimalist bandwagon." you are absolutely right.

I just read this book and it completely spoke to my soul.  Well parts of it.  Parts of it I think she is a bit extreme or even crazy.  But parts of it literally made my heart sing.  I realize every summer how much I hate stuff A. When I have to move it. (this is the first time in gosh I don't even know, 8 years? that I haven't moved in the Spring/Summer) B. Every summer when we go on our adventures we try and limit what we are going to take.  Every time I get home from such an adventure, last year being the most extreme when I only had less than 1 backpack full of clothes, that I don't need a lot of stuff.  I don't like a lot of stuff.

The whole idea of the book, in case anyone hasn't heard of the book and the Marie Kondo method, is the idea that things bring us down more that make we think.  To de-clutter our lives we should visualize what we want our surroundings to look like, then go through each and every thing we own.  Hold it, feel it, and decide if it brings us joy.  If it does, keep it, if it doesn't, get rid of it.  And then and only when you have gone through every single thing, find a place for it.

This is something that my mom taught me at an early age, "Everything must have a place , if it doesn't have a place then get rid of it."

So this blogpost is going to be the on going journey for me to de-clutter my life.  Two things will make this difficult and I don't she fully addresses this in the book.  1. My husband loves stuff.  And it is not worth putting a wrinkle in my marriage to touch his stuff. (She suggests that decluttering is contagious and that he'll start doing it to if I do my stuff.  Yeah right.  That idea doesn't stand a chance.)  2. I have a child and I am hoping to have more children.  So I need a lot of stuff.

But I am going to try to do all of this with any of "my" stuff.  So I am going to document this.

That being said there is one area that I completely disagree with her on.  Personal history items.  She says to throw away all letters, pictures, and such.  Although I am sure after my mom's experience of cleaning out my grandparents 5,000 square feet house, she'd probably agree more than disagree with this idea. But I know she has learned and appreciated her mother in different ways by going through and reading all the letters my grandma kept.  I am sad about the fact that I feel like so much personal history has been lost in our digital world.  But that's a blogpost for another day.

So like I said, I am going to get started.  I am going to start with my clothes.  Now once again, here lies another problem that she doesn't address.  Maternity clothes. I would hope they don't bring anyone real joy... No one loves being the size of a whale.  But obviously they are necessary.  And postpartum clothes are also necessary. Ugh.

But here we go......... I will be documenting the whole process.  The pile of clothes.  The keep pile.  The give away pile.  Wish me luck.

The idea is to put every single item you have of one category, in my case clothes, in one big pile.

She said don't listen to music, don't want tv, just go through each item and decide if it makes you feel joy.  (Once again sounds kinda hocus pocus) but I was shocked how I had feelings about each item.  Some items, even things that I use or wear very often, I have very negative feelings about.  So I did it.  I got rid of it.  Even my running shoes I had worn yesterday!  They are a half size too small and they make my feet hurt.  So even though I thought loved them every time I wear them I remember that I hate them.  So I just got rid of them!

I tried listening to music at first but I ended up turning it off quite quickly because it really did distract me.  Also something I actually started doing that I also thought was completely hocus pocus.... was items that were hard to part with, I thanked them for their service.  I know.  Weird.  But it worked.  Like my old Disneyland shoes?  Gone.

This is when I was almost finished.  The pink tote was maternity clothes, the pile on the right is the get rid of pile, and the pile on the left is the keeper pile.  (The clothes on the couch were maybes.  Most eventually ended up in the get rid of pile)

Here is the get rid of pile in the end.
6 super heavy garbage bags filled. (Forgot to take a picture)

And then I did the craziest thing.  When Jason finished his 8 hours of studying for the day, I made him help me load all of them into the car and we took it to the closest thrift story. I felt anxiety.  I felt guilty for not giving people I know the opportunity to have them first.  I felt guilt for not trying to sell some of the items somewhere.  I don't even want to think about the hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of clothes in there.  I knew if I didn't follow through completely there was a chance of a backslide.

So we did it.  We took all 6 garbage bags filled to the thrift store and I feel great.

Here's what I kept.

I know I know, I wish I had a before decluttering picture too.  I probably got rid of 30 shirts, 15 pairs of shoes, 5 dresses/skirts, and 5 pairs of pants.

I then went on to my "bathroom" stuff.  Make up, hair products, lotions, and such.  Half used products I hate, lipsticks from 2002, even jewelry that I never wear.  (Once again I felt guilty about throwing it all away but I knew I had to get rid of it today)

Once again, it felt great.

Up next?  Books, DVDs, and other things in our living space.

Then the kitchen.....

Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Plans for the Summer of 2017

Well I guess I should make the announcement.  I'm sure you've been on the edge of your seat wondering....

Every summer since 2007 I made an announcement of the fun things I had planned for the summer.   Let's do a review just for fun....

The Summer of 2007 or the Wanna Be Door to Door Sales Girl. (Atlanta to Annapolis)

The Summer of 2008 or the Raw Foodist that realized she HATES statistics. (BYU Masters)

The Summer of 2009 or the (500) Days of Shane.

The Summer of 2010 or The Introduction to Chi Town.

The Summer of 2011 or Lovin' in Los Angeles.

The Summer of 2012 or Cruising around the Mediterranean while my heart was in Provo.

The Summer of 2013 or Livin' off Love - the return of the Student Life Style.

The Summer of 2014 or Red Rocks, Rock Climbs, and Dixie.

The Summer of 2015 or both Jason and I living out our dreams in California!.... him as a dentist and me at Disneyland!!!

And of course the most epic of them all....
Summer of 2016 - the summer of Europe.

Which brings us to the Summer of 2017.
Jason is in clinic.  Which should mean SMOOTH sailing as far as Dental School goes... For most dental students the last two years of dental school is awesome.  They go into work every day at 8ish and come home around 5ish.  No more studying.  No more tests.  Just working and practicing to be a dentist.

But of course we can never take the easy way....  Jason is considering specializing.  What does that mean?  He has to take a test that is equivalent to the boards Med students take after their first 2 years of Med school.  What does that mean?  In Jason's free time, so from 5:30-10 every night and every Saturday Jason has to learn all the material covered in Med school.

Yes this sucks for all of us but we are so excited about the opportunities this could mean for Jason and our future. So.... the summer of 2017?  It'll be me and Brad conquering Salt Lake Valley and the surrounding lands.  There will be lots of stroller runs, swimming in our "pool", trips to the library and the park, and hikes in our new baby backpack.  Oh and hopefully stealing Daddy away every once in a while to go out on the boat. Although my heart hurts a little bit, yearning to go out and adventure, I wouldn't have it any other way.