Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A BIG Blizzard and Some BIG Blessings

The Blizzard:

So I've mentioned it before, but ever since I knew we were going to be moving to Wisconsin I've been dreading this winter. As it turns out, I'm getting off pretty easy. For one thing, we're moving to Virginia before January. Plus, normally in Wisconsin it snows in October and there's a good amount of snow on the ground by November, but this year we had our first real snowfall on December 9th. Still though, I think I may have had enough of winter by the time we move anyway. This weekend we had a big blizzard with 13 inches of snow from Saturday evening til Sunday morning.

I had to work 2nd shift on both Saturday and Sunday. Burke was out with the missionaries Saturday evening after the snow started, and they picked me up from work on the way home. It took us 40 minutes to get the missionaries home and then 30 minutes to get home from there. Then we got stuck getting into our parking lot and Burke and our neighbor had to dig our car out. Thank goodness we have a garage in our complex. On Sunday, church was cancelled, which must tell you how bad it was since this is Wisconsin, for crying out loud! It had snowed so much with so much wind that we were literally snowed in! That's never happened to me before. There was a 4 foot snowdrift in front of our door and about the same in front of our garage. Someone came to plow our parking lot around noon on Sunday when the snow finally stopped. Then we could shovel out our front door and in front of our garage. The roads were awful! Thankfully, Burke does pretty well in the snow and drove me to work for the next couple of days. The road we live on and the road my work is on are still a big mess, but otherwise the city has mostly recovered.

The biggest pity is that on Sunday the temperature dropped and the wind continued so that we've been having wind chill factors below 0....too cold for much snow playing! Maybe the next snowfall will be nice and gentle, at a balmy 28 degrees or so.

A view of our garage right as the guy started plowing:

We opened our front door to this:

The next day looked like this:

The snowdrifts looked really cool the way the wind had shaped them:

The Blessings:

1. We all survived the big blizzard, even though we unfortunately couldn't stay huddled up inside all weekend (like any normal person should do).
2. I only have a week and a day left at my job... Hallelujah! (I'm quitting before Christmas so I don't have to work 2nd on Christmas Eve... double Hallelujah!)


3. Burke has a job!!! He found out yesterday that the company he works for now (Thrivent Financial) is keeping him on to work LONG DISTANCE! We couldn't be more grateful. We haven't figured out a lot of the details yet but he'll be working from home, with a salary and benefits! Sigh of relief just doesn't even express it. We're not sure if this will last forever but it's a guaranteed 3 months at least, which will at least give him an opportunity to meet people in the area and get ideas about what else he could do there.

I'm so proud of him, just because this is not something that this company ever does! They just decided to give it a try because they like him so much. :) We feel so incredibly blessed.

Now that I've spent so long writing this I'll mention that we still haven't decided where to live (that's another story for another day) and we haven't started packing, even though we could be moving as early as two weeks from yesterday. Not to mention Christmas is in there too. And I'm here blogging...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two of the best holidays...

We had two holidays this last week... Thanksgiving and my birthday!

I really enjoyed Thanksgiving this year. (Well, I suppose I always do...) We spent it with Burke's parents, Blake, Bonnie, and Burke's aunt, uncle, and cousin who drove in from Minnesota. I made an apple pie on Wednesday. I was nervous about it because I've only ever made like 3 pies ever, and only 1 of the 3 turned out very good. But Mama sent me her recipe (she makes apple pie every year, and it's always fantastic!) and I took my time on the crust, and when it was finished it actually looked really pretty! And when we finally got around to eating it on Thanksgiving, it was delicious too.

I had to work on Wednesday night and Friday morning, but getting to spend all day Thursday with the family was nice. All of the food was delicious! I took a nice nap in the afternoon, and in the evening we went to see Harry Potter. Ah holidays!

And on Saturday I turned 23. (Today is the birthday of one of the resident's at work who is turning 83. I've remembered it all month because she is almost exactly 60 years older than me!) It was a pretty chill day. We went over to Burke's parents for "lunch" which turned out to be a surprise party that Burke and Bonnie had been working on. It was really thoughtful of them and Kathy and those who came. I got to talk to (almost) everybody in my family and that was really great too. In the evening Burke and I went out to dinner. (Burke insisted that we had to go somewhere that we could get cake! I needed a piece of birthday cake!) When we came home we decorated our Christmas tree, which may have been my favorite part of the day. Thanks to everyone who made my birthday special!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We've kind of assumed it for a long time, but it's official. Today I put in my "4 weeks notice" at work. We'll be moving to Norfolk, VA around the end of the year and I will be starting the PA program at Eastern Virginia Medical School on January 3. Hoorah!

Decisions, decisions.... you know, the big ones? I'm tired of them! The last few months have been SO HARD! But now we know. It's hard for Burke to quit his job but he's been applying for lots of finance jobs in the area and we've been making contacts as best we can (without actually knowing anyone there!). I got accepted to Rosalind Franklin but we didn't feel like it was the right thing to do. I got a rejection letter from AT Still in AZ, and that was a little disappointing I guess, but alright. I still don't know for sure from Wake Forest, but I talked to the program director last night and she basically said "Look, I just don't think we're going to have a spot for you, but we won't know for sure until January or February." SO here we are.

Burke is amazing, really. None of this is easy for either of us, especially him, but he is so supportive, and always has been. We really are trying to do what we feel is the right thing for us at this time. We are so excited for this next adventure! Nervous, definitely, but excited! I am so grateful for my husband, my better half. I'm also grateful for the knowledge that our Heavenly Father answers prayers! He does!!! And I don't know what on earth we would do without that. He loves us. He loves each of his children, and He wants to bless us! Just ASK!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Science of Exercise

You may not know it when you consider my current occupation and pay rate, but I have a Bachelor's Degree. In what? you might ask. In Exercise Science. Now, I'm not exactly sure what comes to your mind when you hear that, but I'm betting it wouldn't really describe how I feel about the education I received. I kind of feel like most people that I've told lately think I should be a personal trainer or something. Not that I couldn't have been, but it's a flexible major and I didn't really gear it that way. Besides, you don't need a Bachelor's degree to be a personal trainer. So what did I end up with? A completely unmarketable degree with no experience. I knew I was going to grad school, so it didn't really matter to me then.

Not that I haven't learned anything about exercise. I definitely have. I know enough to tell you that one of the best ways to live long and healthy is to exercise. But how do I apply this very expensive piece of knowledge? Well, up until a few weeks ago, not very well. I was struggling after we moved here because there were not very many places to run and I couldn't get into a good routine around my weird work schedule. But a few weeks ago, Burke and I joined the YMCA!

It was a major decision, because as far as we were concerned... it is a LOT of money. But we decided to do it facing the prospect of a long, snowy, Wisconsin winter. We signed up during a promotion and saved a good $60 or so. Since then we have gone swimming, ran on treadmills, lifted weights, Burke has tried to teach me how to play racquetball, and I started taking a Zumba class.

Since yoga (which would be my first choice any day) costs an extra 20 or 30 bucks, I decided to give Zumba a try. The first day of the class I was nervous, thinking, "Gosh I wish I had someone to go with me." As soon as the class started, however, I was SO GLAD I didn't know anyone in there! I look like an idiot. It's just dancing for exercise, and it's fun I guess, but I just try to avoid the mirrors at all costs. The whole time I'm just trying to figure out how to get my arms to move like that with my legs and hips, etc.

And swimming? It's a similar story. I took a beginning swimming class at BYU my sophomore year to try and relearn how to swim (because I had literally forgotten since my childhood swimming lessons). By this point, I know HOW to do the strokes correctly, but I still can't go 2 lengths of the pool without stopping. My swimming workouts consist of going one length of the pool at freestyle, rest, then back; repeat with breast stroke; repeat with back stroke.... repeat until I've had enough.

Then there's racquetball. So I like tennis, so I figured racquetball would be great. We've only played once so far, but I just couldn't get the hang of hitting the ball AFTER it bounced off the wall behind me. It was a little frustrating... and imagine poor Burke. Like I said, we've only played once.

Needless to say, most of the time when I exercise, I feel a little pathetic. Even running nowadays... I can do it outside, but on a treadmill I can't make myself go more than a mile or two. Add that to the admission that my degree is in Exercise Science, and well, I guess all I can say is, ya gotta start somewhere.

But I'll tell you one thing I do know about the "science of exercise": pay a bunch of money to join a gym and you'll be much more likely to get your ever-needed exercise.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall in all its splendor

The last week and a half or so have been just gorgeous!! It's been sunny every day, and warm too! Even almost as warm as 80 degrees! So we've tried to enjoy it as much as we can.

One day while I was driving around I discovered this lovely park right on Little Lake Butte des Morts. So on conference Saturday we rolled out of bed to check it out.

There's a trail called the Friendship Trail with a bridge across the lake. I don't have a lot of options for running routes from our apartment, so this is my new favorite. On a warm fall afternoon it practically felt like a little piece of heaven.

Burke had been wanting to check out a bike/horse/snowmobile trail called the Wiowash Trail that he kept hearing about at work. Since I don't have a bike, we borrowed one from Burke's parents. One day after work we rode for a while along the trail. It was a really nice evening and a beautiful place, although a bit swampy and a lot buggy in places. (I'm game to try it in the winter!...Anybody have a snowmobile??)

Then on Saturday we had been planning on a "picnic at the park." Since we liked the Wiowash trail and the park on the lake so much, and they are connected by the Friendship trail, we decided to do what was for us a long bike ride and pack a picnic. It totaled to somewhere between 16 and 20 miles. In addition, the friendship trail had a long section of gravel/dirt plus hills that was pretty tough to ride on. BUT we made it, and it was gorgeous, and our pasta salad picnic was de-lish.

We were a mile or two from the car when I took off down one of those gravel hills. Apparently I hit one of those bumps in the road and straight up CRASHED. Burke was coming behind me and yelled at me not to move... I was like "Oh crap, did I break something?" But nope, just scared both myself and Burke a little. Or a lot? I skinned up my hand and my elbow and my knee and got some beautiful bruises on my legs and ribs. Haven't done that for a while! Actually, I can't remember if I've ever crashed on a bike before. Probably so, considering how long it took me to learn how to ride a bike...

Anyway, the borrowed bike was just fine and has since been returned. I think I would like to get a bike of my own someday, but I'm not sure what kind. After our two recent rides I decided that I really like a leisurely bike ride, but I don't know if I would ever want to consider cycling as my form of exercise of choice.

It's almost halfway through October already. It's been lovely so far!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We live in a beautiful world

On Saturday I returned from a short trip to Arizona where I went for an interview at AT Still University. As my plane landed in Phoenix I looked out the window, saw the brown desert and the absence of green grass and trees, and thought, "What am I doing here? I could never live in such a desert!"

I spent that afternoon with my dad's cousin Richard and his wife Cindy. They showed me around Mesa, took me to see the temple, and told me all about what it is like to live there. The next day was my interview. I liked a lot of things about the school, and I didn't like a few things. By the time I flew out of the Phoenix airport on Saturday morning I had a new perspective. Arizona is beautiful, in a different sort of way. I know I would have a hard time with 100+ degree weather from June til September, but maybe the September til May weather would make up for it. :)

I was looking out the plane window somewhere over Colorado or something, and the mountains had a strange yellowish color in some places. It took me a few minutes of staring to realize that it was the leaves on the trees. It was fascinating to see from the air, but I just kept wishing I was down there, on that mountain, surrounded by those beautiful trees. Later when I looked out, I saw where the mountains ended and the great plains began. Goodbye, Rockies; Hello, Midwest.

When I landed in Wisconsin, my view from the plane window showed a huge green field, a wide blue sky, and perfect, white clouds. It looked just like a picture. And I realized, this world is so beautiful; at least it is everywhere I've ever been.

The leaves are changing and it's getting cool, and it's happening so fast that the snow will be here before we know it. I'm afraid of the winter, but I decided that I need to quit dreading winter so much that I don't enjoy the fall. And I also decided that our decisions on where to live don't need to be determined by the climate. Whether it's brutally cold, snowy winters, blazing hot summers, or humidity, every place has something to put up with. But every place has so much beauty to offer, too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It's Official--I'm going to PA School...

...And now the question is, where?

This whole process has been very different than I expected. I completed 9 applications for PA programs, and so far I have been invited to interview at 8 of them. It's been pretty overwhelming, actually, especially because interviewing involves buying a plane ticket, hotel, transportation, etc. Finally we were able to narrow it down some and cross Philadelphia University, Missouri State University, and Barry University off the list. I'm going back to North Carolina this weekend for an interview at Wake Forest University on Monday. I'm still interested in AT Still in Arizona and Rosalind Franklin in Chicago.

Last week I was accepted to the PA program at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Their program starts in January, and they are the most expensive program I applied to, but I loved their program and we think Norfolk, VA would be a great place to live. We don't know yet when we'll have to decide for sure and pay a deposit to claim my spot, but in the meantime we're exploring a few other options.

All I can say is, I am so grateful that the Lord hears and answers our prayers. Without that, this process would be a whole different issue. With that gift, I know we can make the choice that will be best for our family.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Catching up

Burke and I finished up at BYU, Burke in April and I in June, and we moved to Appleton, Wisconsin. Burke's got a good job at an insurance company and he's working in internal consulting/continuous improvement, which he likes a lot. I recently started working at an assisted living center doing CNA work. My job is part-time, 2nd shift, and they don't pay me much, so not ideal, especially since we share a car which makes transportation a major issue. We are in the same ward as Burke's family, which is fun, and we live less than 10 minutes away from them in an apartment. I applied to 10 PA programs all over the place back in May and I'm starting to hear back. We'll be moving somewhere if all of that pans out, because there are no PA programs within an hour and a half of here and the programs in Wisconsin all wanted classes I didn't have time to take. We are anxious about the next phase in our lives (mostly about making up our minds about it) but really enjoying this current phase. We are staying surprisingly busy and happy. We miss Utah some, especially now that school is back in full swing and we aren't there. But it's kind of nice, too. Mostly we miss so many friends and family in Utah, North Carolina, and all over. Maybe this will help us keep in touch better. :)