Unspoken Words


We all have our quirks and nuances when it comes to picking out the best gift for someone.  In my case, it’s not always just about the gift, but more about finding a card that completes it.  When I tell my husband I’m in the card aisle shopping for someone, he knows (if he’s talking to me on my cell phone) that it will be awhile and he’ll have time to finish that last chapter on his Kindle and probably even that last level on his video game too.  I’m that person who can easily spend hours, reading through and contemplating the artwork of each card until I find “the one” that fits the occasion and the person I’m giving it to. My husband, on the other hand, is perfectly content in skipping the card altogether..buying a gift and (if the recipient is lucky) attaching a name tag to the said gift. “Cards are expensive” he always says to me. “Instead of spending $5 on a card, put that money toward the gift “, is what he usually interjects, at the end of our conversations regarding the great debate on the significance and value of a card.

As I reflect on my husbands comments and the gesture of buying someone a card, I can’t help but ask myself why I treasure the cards I’ve given and received throughout my own life. It’s not really the card itself that is  important, but more about what’s inside the card that truly matters.

BirthdayCardFromMom BirthdayCardFromMom

While unpacking an old box upstairs, I stumbled upon some cards I had kept, one from my own mother,  given to me on my 17th Birthday. She had filled the card with her writings, some recalling her favorite memories with me, along with advice given to her that she was now passing on to me.  She told me how proud she was of the woman I was turning into and that no matter what, she would always love me and she would always be there for me. As I reread these words, this card takes me back to a time in my life when I had a relationship with my mom, a time when she was the one I turned to when I was having a bad day, when I needed a good laugh, or maybe just someone to have a cup of coffee with in the morning. It was a time in my life where I hadn’t done anything to upset her or go against her own wishes. It was a simple time in that I felt like I almost had her approval and all I wanted was to make her proud. This card and the words written inside of it are the only reassurance that I hold in my hand..knowing my mother did love me and was proud of me. Even though we haven’t spoken in over four years, I can look at this card and remember the special times we shared.

Letter From Son

Just like I’ve held onto the words of my mom, I know there are also parents who keep cards written from their children. It might be a postcard, promising to change their life around, to make things right, to put God first, to come clean once and for all. Or, maybe it’s a card to say “I’m Sorry“… for the ugly teenage years, for the grey hair, for the sleepless nights, for painful life lessons learned. But what about those cards that say “I Love You” and “Thank You”… for loving me anyway,  for believing in me when nobody else did, for supporting me, for making my dreams come true, for NEVER giving up on me. Yes, I’m sure these cards are treasured by parents and children alike… because even when times are tough, these are the reminders that stay with us forever.

IKeepHisCards IKeepHisCards

My husband might be guilty for his lack of card purchases, but he has kept all of the cards and love notes from me. These are the cards exchanged between lovers and best friends. The card that you read back to him 10 years from now, because the words written inside are timeless, that first time you signed it with an “I love you” or an inside joke that was just as good as Morris code between the two of you. It’s the card that puts a smile on his face because he knows you are his one and only..and you know ..as you read the message neatly printed on the embossed Tiffany note card that he is your Happily Ever After. It could be a card filled with all of the reasons why you love him…or it could be a card with just a few words expressing his own reasons for loving you. This year,  for my Birthday, I asked Nate to include a card with his gift. The card couldn’t have fit me better,  and although I cherished the gift that came with it, his words inside my card meant so much more to me.. they were true, honest and thoughtful.. and a little piece of him and his heart were now inside my card.  This is the card I keep on my desk at work. My birthday is over,  but the card stays.. to remind me.. that he loves me…and heck,  he is never one to settle for “simple” and that in itself makes me smile. For some of us, cards are the last thoughts and memories … the last trace of the person you loved..and will always love. Sometimes, it’s the card that takes you back to the beginning of your love story… and that last “I Love You” written with his hands..he was thinking of you that day …picking out this card with you in mind.. and you can’t help but recall how happy you were that day..the day he gave you this card. It is no longer just “a card” It’s a piece of your past, a lingering memory of the one you love.. something you just can’t put a price on…

Unspoken Words.

By Heather Decker


Fitness = Fun

Weekly Writing Challenge: Fit to Write – by Erica on August 12, 2013

This week’s creative writing challenge, tell us about what health means to you. Have you struggled with an illness, physical or emotional?  What got you through that time? How it has changed your perspective? Are you a fitness fanatic? Let us know about how you got interested in athleticism and the ways it affects your life.  Let us know what brings you happiness and balance, through physical effort or mental calm.

The Skort Outfit

The “Skort” Outfit

Fitness: Friendships & Falling in Love
“Hey, I have an idea .. let’s go to the gym this morning,” he says – smiling, as if the excitement in his voice and pearly whites are going to motivate me to jump out of bed and say, “That’s a great idea!”   It is one of those Saturday mornings … the kind of Saturday morning that, quite honestly, after a crazy week of classes, all-night cram sessions, group projects, and endless family dramas, I want nothing more than to stay right where I’m at, wrapped up in a zebra print sheet set, complete with the matching comforter and pillow case.  I remember thinking – even back then, that this bed decor could use some updating .. I mean seriously, can we say “Goodbye 1995?!”  I could tell I wasn’t going to win this – and so I agreed to go to the gym .. on my Saturday.

When I think back to my experiences with exercise, health and fitness, I have few memories.  I remember that throughout grade school / high school – I dreaded gym class. It was never a favorite class of mine – and that is what I equated “working out” to for most of my life.  After high school – I tried here and there to “workout”.  While I lived in Idaho – I remember an ex-boyfriend (who shall remain anonymous) taking me to a gym that he went to on the National Guard base. It was the biggest disaster ever, partially because our relationship was on the fritz, and this was his solution in bringing us closer together – we could workout together. I decided to give this a try, so the night before – I went shopping, and made sure I had the cutest outfit to “workout” in.  I didn’t know the  first thing about exercise, but I wanted to make sure that I looked my best .. and so, after work that day – we headed over to the base. I changed into a pair of black shorts and a fitted pink & black stripped tee, slipped into my brand new pink puma shoes, pulled my hair back into a ponytail, giving myself a once-over in the mirror, I was ready! I’m not quite sure what my ex was doing, but I walked out of the changing room first, and remember staring at  all of these machines – not knowing what to do exactly – they all looked so foreign to me.  Then, this other (quite handsome) guy walked over to me and asked if he could help me out. “Sure,” I said, “This is my first time here, and well .. how exactly do you use these machines?” He smiled, “Oh it’s quite simple, here let me adjust the seat height and weights for you!” He walked me through the basics, and even got me started on some of the free weights.  At this point – I had totally forgotten about my ex, that I had arrived with my ex .. I was enjoying the company, and just as this handsome young man started to ask my affiliation with the gym on this base .. out walks my ex .. in the ugliest outfit .. an old faded cream-colored t-shirt with a big mallard duck printed on the front, neon yellow swim trunks, knee-high socks and black dress shoes! “Sorry it took me so long, ” he says, walking towards me, “I couldn’t seem to find my tennis shoes.” My face turned fifty shades of red .. the guy next to me, trying his hardest not to laugh, watched us both. I wanted to pretend like I didn’t know him, I wanted to tell him what an idiot he was for wearing such a ridiculous outfit and that I hated to even be seen with him! Heck, I knew NOTHING about going to a gym, but at least I made sure to wear clothes that matched, and shoes that were meant for exercising! “Thanks for helping her out,” he says to my new friend, “But, I’ve got it from here.” As I walked away from Mr. Handsome and followed Mr. Fashion Disaster .. I already knew that this wasn’t going to work, and I was right – soon after this, we broke up.

Nate & Heather,  College Days

Nate & Heather,
College Days

“You can’t wear that to the gym.. ” he tells me, as I come out of my dorm room in a cute light pink pair of skorts and fitted green tee.  “Why not?” I ask, still contemplating why the heck I gave up my Saturday to get all gross and sweaty, “Well, because – what is that?- is that a skirt you are are wearing? You can’t wear a skirt to the gym, it’s inappropriate!” Nate truly looks concerned about my outfit of choice – which was a first for me.  “It’s not a skirt, It’s a skort!” I thought it was perfectly acceptable for working out in. He nodded his head side to side .. “What exactly is a skort?” .. I explain to him that a skort is a skirt with shorts, making it all the more “appropriate” for gym wear! Well, he wasn’t sold on the idea, but that Saturday morning, Nate and I walked over to the Nicholson Rec Center and we worked out together.  I remember while Nate showed me the machines, adjusting my seat height and weights, thinking back to that day with my ex, and just how embarrassed I was to be seen with him.  I watched Nate in his sleeveless white Nike Dri-Fit Tee, black & orange shorts .. that matched his black & orange sneakers, he looked so sleek – like he belonged in this gym, and I – I was with HIM – my very own Mr. Handsome! I was so proud to walk in and out of that gym with him.  We (to my surprise) talked a lot while lifting weights. He helped me lift the bar – as he stood over me, encouraging me, telling me “One more, come on, you can do it .. just one more, you got this!” I felt this connection with him, bonding and working out, it was this experience that turned me on to exercising.  And then came his turn – but he lifted more than just the bar, and I tried my best to motivate him to lift that bar, mostly hoping he did lift it – because if it happened to fall on his chest – well, I would probably just burst into to tears, frantically grab the closest guy to help me.  Luckily, this was never an issue – because I’m sure Nate knew I was not capable of lifting a 100+ pound weight off of him.  As we left that day – my perspective on Saturday workouts changed – and I actually looked forward to this time we had together.  Little did I know that this time – the shoe was on the other foot..  “I saw you at the gym today,” Ajay, a guy in my dorm hall said in passing, “Oh Yeah..” I said to him. “Haha, I sure did .. good job at lifting that bar,” he sarcastically said to me.  In one day – I had been teased for not only my choice in clothing but for my lack of strength too.  I figured this was probably my payback for that day at the gym with my ex.  Normally, I would let comments like Ajay’s influence me, even my roommate liked to tease me for how much time I spent at the gym – as she would say, “I don’t know why you go to that gym, it’s so ghetto.. nothing like the one I have at home!”  She was right, it was pretty ghetto, but that year – while she invited  her sleazy / cheater / mono-giving boyfriend over, I was happy to head out to the gym and hang with Nate…

Heather & Sara Homecoming Dance

Heather & Sara
Homecoming Dance

I remembered both of my aunts telling me how important it was to sign up for fitness classes while in college – they were usually 1 credit classes, and usually helped break your week up a little too.  What they didn’t tell me – usually, it’s a Grad student who teaches these classes… In my case, the first Abs class I took was not only a Grad student, but he had also done time with the Marines too.. and (before Sara and I took his class) – he was all business.  I’ll never forget my first day in that class – I didn’t know anyone, but quickly became friends with a girl named Sara.  Her boyfriend was in the ROTC, his name was Brian, she was crazy about him – they were high school sweethearts .. homecoming was that weekend too .. was I going? What was I going to wear? Did I have a plan for my hair? As we discussed these important details .. while “planking” for what seemed like the entire class .. a friendship soon formed, and by the following week, we were all giggles over story-telling about our lives in between “crunches”.  Mr. Red-Headed Marine  noticed us and our conversations .. making eye contact with us, he smiled and said, “Girls, this is not social time, do I need to separate the two of you?” We both smiled, shaking our heads.. changing our tone of voice down to a whisper.  But, during our next class – we had moved on from floor exercises to a series of lunge exercises, my favorite – “The Charlies Angel” Style Lunge! As we lunged back and in straight lines across the gym – Mr. Marine couldn’t help but notice my cute tennis shoes.. “Hey, those are Puma’s .. where did you get those?” Feeling quite proud of myself, looking down at my grey mesh pumas with pink stripes, I tell him, “My Aunt Dina got me these at Nordi’s, they were on sale!”  Sara and I follow suit in our “Charlies Angel” lunges and continued in our conversation about the highs & lows of last weekends homecoming, in which he decided to listen in on, and many more conversations aft that… Mr. Marines, now known as Mr. Chatty Pants, almost always wanted to be in on our gossip sessions – I think he actually enjoyed these chats… and us for that matter! By the end of that class, I realized not only how much I enjoyed this fitness class, but also how much I loved the social aspect of it, meeting new people and making friends.  Sara and I are still friends (9 years later) – I was there to hear all about her wedding proposal, her first and second pregnancy, all of her moves, her adventures.. and I have this fitness class to thank for our friendship!

The Pink & Grey Pumas.. Yes I still have them!

The Pink & Grey Pumas.. Yes I still have them!

I tie most of my memories to experiences I’ve shared with others – friends, family, my husband.  When I think about some of my fondest memories – they’ve taken place over a fun run, a workout with a friend, a tennis lesson with my cousin, a walk around the nature trail or Green Lake, a 30 minute treadmill session .. a 5k run with my friend Anita .. I’ll never forget that year we religiously jogged together, because she was determined to beat Nate at this 5K run around the CWU Campus.  He had literally just finished an entire medium sized Dominos pizza just before the race, and he still beat the socks off of her, in which, I think she is still bitter over.  But, I remember jogging at night with her, jogging in the wind and the rain, jogging all around Ellensburg .. I remember those evenings I couldn’t sleep, because I was worried about an exam, a problem at home that I had no control over, a fight between me & Nate .. but in the end, after that 30 minute run, I always felt better… the circumstances were still the same, nothing had been solved, but my mind always felt clear, and breathing in that fresh / sometimes cold crisp air, it seemed to always take away all of my worries and all of my stress.  When I think about that term “Runners High” – It truly is a high, because for that moment – there is NOTHING to bring you down, and for that moment ALL is right in your world.  I’m glad that I was open that day – to try again – to go to the gym with Nate… to try out a fitness class, to push myself when I didn’t feel like doing anything at all.  It has shaped my life and continues to push me – to become a better, healthier, more fit individual.  And hey, anyone who knows me – knows it’s also an excuse to go shopping .. there’s always a good reason for another pair of Pumas!

By Heather Decker

We always have fun!

We always have fun!


The One

Summer Sunflower


Daily Prompt: Keep Out

by michelle w. on July 9, 2013

Who is the one person you hope isn’t reading your blog? Why?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us OUTSIDE.

When I think of the question “who is the one person you hope isn’t reading your blog?”
I actually have a hard time narrowing it down to just one person, and for so many different reasons.
Believe me, I know that this is a public site, and when I hit the “Publish” button, it is free game –
for anyone – to look me up, to critique my work, to say whatever they choose,
to hurt me or to encourage me,
but when I think about that question,
there are few people that come to mind –
that (quite honestly) I wouldn’t be upset
if they were not reading my blog.

It doesn’t matter, how hard you try
There’s always that one professor, who has pegged you
as the “B” student, because he doesn’t like your metaphors
Thank you  for those sleepless nights, those numerous drafts ..
red marks, feedback that often left me in tears.
sometimes – there is no metaphor
Sometimes, It just is what it is
Professor P – this stanza is for you..
I really hope you aren’t reading my blog.

Life is too short to copy and compete with others
Our friendship started to diminish as you tried
and tried to copy ALL of my likes, my dislikes
my hairstyle, my clothing, pretty much my life.
Other friends said I should think of it as “flattery”
I tried, but our visits soon turned into something from
“Keeping up with the Jones’s” and I lost interest
in this superficial friendship.
“Xerox”- I really hope you are  not reading my blog.

Those who are closest to you are the ones who hurt you the most..
to the sibling and sometimes the parent who lashed out at me
because they are unhappy in their own life
I’ll never forget that voice mail – on my honeymoon..
I was disloyal to my family for not lying,
for believing in accountability..
to ‘the one’ who never said he would read this blog again,
to “the one’ who has erased me out of her life
I really hope you aren’t reading my blog

Ex-girlfriends and Ex-boyfriends
There is a reason why you are an EX
It’s time to let go and move on
Nate and I are happier than we’ve ever been
Please stop “friend requesting”, “Twitter Inviting”..
and filling your head with these “what if” scenarios
It is NEVER going to happen!
I hope you find your own happiness,
But I also hope you aren’t reading my blog.

-By Heather Decker


Hi, Mom!

Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom!: Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. Wherever in the world you are, write your mother a letter.

Me & My Mom  Zillah Lakes SummerHorse Riding

Hi Mom,

I probably never told you this, but this picture – it’s one of my favorites.  Infact, I remember the day we stood there together – in the backyard of that house on  Thompson street. I remember you looking at me.. just how you are in that picture, with such love and gentleness in your eyes.  You (I’m sure) adored me .. loved me unconditionally.  We had no differences back then … I was the apple of your eye, we spent our summers out by that pool of the apartment complex – I remember you telling me – I could have been that little girl on the front of the Coppertone suntan lotion bottle .. and I’m sure that it’s because of you – that I tan so easily (hardly ever burn) every single summer.  You are the reason I love my sunshine, my flip-flops, a nice warm breeze and especially a relaxing horseback ride to finish up those perfect summer evenings… which have been replaced with a stroll around the golf course or nature trail with Nate .. not quite the same, but those rides with you – I’ll cherish.


Do you remember that day you took me to get my nails done?  I do – I was in the 5th grade.  We were on our way to Stefanie Lalande’s birthday party – it was a sleepover.  I had my “Truth or Dare” game in hand, my sleeping bag & pillow.. thinking we were headed straight to her house, instead .. pulled up to a salon.  “Heather we are going to go & get our nails done .. ”  I remember picking out my color – it was a translucent pink .. I watched as my nails were trimmed, filed and painted .. and you, alongside me – also getting your nails done .. I felt so special, having that time with you .. knowing it was just the two of us, me – experiencing my very first manicure with my mom .. knowing that after this moment .. there would be more of those manicures to come.  And now – whenever I go to get my nails done – it’s you that I think of.  I remember arriving at Stefanie’s house, feeling so proud, telling everyone where I had just been .. and showing off my perfectly manicured nails! It was and still is one of my favorite memories.  

High School Graduation

Do you remember this day? High School Graduation – I couldn’t have been happier, and you were there – to cheer me on.  You were so proud of me that day! This was the start of something new – I was almost 18, thought I had all of the answers .. like any other graduating senior does .. But, this was just the beginning .. Still, you stood by me – encouraged me to follow my dreams. It was so hard – telling you goodbye that day at NCC.  We had spent the whole drive over from Idaho to Eugene, Oregon – you telling me not to go out at night, it’s not safe – and if I did, I better wear that flashlight with the whistle around my neck .. and if I was scared at all, to blow on that whistle.  You helped me unpack my side of the room, not knowing if we would have enough space, but you made it work.  You filled an entire container full with snacks, incase I got hungry and needed something to eat.  I remember dreading that moment when you and everyone else left – there was nothing more to unpack, the boxes were empty, and it was time.. it was a terrible feeling .. seeing you leave.  This was before cell phones, email or instant messaging.. and I worried about how I would manage without you, without our evening chats outside on the front porch, our rides into town, our time together.  That first night – being in a new place, I’ll never forget.. I was so used to falling asleep to pure darkness… as I did, living in that house in Harrison out in the country, so quiet and so dark .. with the exception of the crickets .. and the stars.  lying in bed that night – with the sound of college students outside my window.. and the fluorescent light of a street lamp shining through my window, I knew my life had changed.  And, I had to experience just a few more things in life before really figuring out what it was I wanted to do… coming back home for a “break” that turned into “6 years” — I met some amazing people along the way, who helped me figure out what & who was missing … I soon decided I wanted to finish what I had started, my education, and I wanted to know all of my family.

CWU Graduation My Wedding Day

When I decided I wanted to go back to school … we weren’t exactly on speaking terms … because along with going back to school .. I had also chosen to reunite with my grandmother  aunts, uncles, cousins.. and many other relatives I had not seen since I was 9 years old .. and most importantly I found my real dad.  We seemed to work  through those differences (a little) .. but something happened in between the College graduation (in which you attended… you were there … but your mind was elsewhere, and I was sure to hear all about it on my special day – the day I had been waiting 4 years to enjoy) … It was that day – you had already decided in your own mind that you would not be attending my wedding… because I could not promise you that “The Others” would not speak to you or the rest of the family.  Sometimes, if I had to do it over again, I would have opted for you to skip my graduation and come to see me get married.  And in some ways – I wish you could have just been there for both of these very important days of my life – that I’ll never do over again.  Why couldn’t you just set aside all differences for one day, and watch your daughter get married .. on the happiest day of her life.  Why did you have to post such a mean comment on Facebook, proclaiming how HAPPY you were that I would be changing my last name? Was that truly necessary? Was it truly necessary to make a point of what a great time you were having that day with your sister, barbecuing .. not making one mention of your own daughter getting married .. because, I wonder sometimes, if you were worried about what others might think – what would you tell them if they had asked.. why you weren’t at your own daughter’s wedding?  Oh, I’m sure you would come up with something to justify why you didn’t attend .. because, yes, that’s right – it was MY FAULT you weren’t there … because I CHOSE to have ALL of my family (who wanted to be there) watch me marry the love of my life.. that’s right.  To say that I’m deeply hurt over this.. is such an understatement, you’ll never know just how bad you really hurt me by not being there – and it is something that I will NEVER do to my own kids – regardless of circumstances I may agree or disagree with.. because that’s what you do when you are a parent .. you put your own feelings aside and let them have that moment. Although I am still sad that you chose not to come, I have forgiven you, and my anger and sadness is only for you – I’m sad for you, that you missed that day.  In the end, I can honestly say, it was a beautiful wedding and those who attended wanted to be there and that is what mattered.  I would have loved for you to be there, but you weren’t – and well, as the old saying goes, “It is what it is.”

Heather & Nate

It has been nearly 4 years since we’ve really spoken – and there are some days that I miss you .. that I have to think back to that “last time” .. having coffee together, laughing together, telling stories together … shopping together.. as the years go by, I’ve been so blessed with the friendships I’ve made … and today, on Mother’s Day … as I look through the pictures of moms & their daughters .. I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have these amazing mothers in my own life.  They’ve taken me in as one of their own .. and when I’m having those days … where I’m missing you – they are the ones who step in .. and they are the ones to remind me that even though you might not be speaking to me, you do still love me – because really, you just can’t help yourself.  I will always remember the fun times we had together – and someday, I really do hope that instead of responding to a daily prompt on my blog site that I’ll be able to pick up the phone and tell you Happy Mother’s Day.  But today – as I write this letter that you may or may not ever see .. I just want to tell you Happy Mother’s Day, I do love you mom..I always will.. because quite honestly, I just can’t help myself either.  And – finding that picture of us .. way back when a few days ago – really made me miss you.  Incase you wanted to know, I’m doing really well .. Nate and I are happy together – he is so good to me, and he loves me .. he would do anything for me .. we are a good fit for each other, and I’m excited for the life we are living .. and all that we still have to look forward to.

Happy Mothers Day – Heather

In Love … In Leavenworth

Every once in awhile, it’s fun to take a little car ride and enjoy a change in scenery… even if it’s just a day.  Last weekend, we ventured out to Leavenworth, Washington.  I had just transitioned my closet from fall/winter to spring/summer apparel and  I could hardly wait to wear my  J.Crew white cotton shorts with the embroidered pink tennis rackets.  My husband (who had been ready hours before me) didn’t even hesitate to tell me I was crazy for wearing shorts, and please, promise him that I would bring along a pair of jeans.  I (of course) had already decided that since it was April, it was supposed to be Spring and if I had to wear my spring clothing to will this weather into some sort of sunshine, well then – that is what I would do! … I did bring the jeans, just in case they “might” be needed.

Getting Ready To Go

We arrived in Leavenworth around lunchtime, our hotel room would not be ready for a few hours .. so it was time for some window shopping.  We hadn’t been in the first little shop for more than ten minutes, and my husband had already scoured the downstairs and upstairs .. while I was still just barely making it through the entryway.  I enjoy taking my time, looking closely at all of the trinkets, and this place had LOTS of them to look at.  Nate was quick to learn all about the “Taste of Leavenworth” booklet.  This was the first time Leavenworth had opened this event up to all vendors/businesses, not just wineries.  This month is known for pear harvesting, and so each shop who participated incorporated something with a pear.  The booklet was $25 and it had more free food than Nate and I could ever eat! We tried our hardest – to use the majority of the coupons.  Once the map of Leavenworth was in Nate’s hands  — it was as if he were on a mission  .. or a scavenger hunt.. to find these places and redeem his coupons! Needless to say, we discovered some of the best food and shopping that we would have never ever thought to check out, but this booklet was a great source for trying out new places and visiting with some of the nicest people.
The Taste of Leavenworth The Taste of Leavenworth The Taste of Leavenworth

After only making it through about half of our booklet full of coupons, we decide that the Orbital Inn will be our last stop.  We must try out the free belgian waffles with a pear & caramel glaze and whipped cream.  I’m not sure how I managed to eat more food, I was already beyond the “food coma” stage.. but, Nate and I shared a waffle and it was pretty amazing and worth every extra calorie .. that I certainly did not need that day.  Our hotel was just down the street from the Orbital Inn.. It was getting close to 4:00PM – an afternoon of walking and eating .. and now, maybe a quick cat nap before heading off to the film festival.  We stayed at the Leavenworth Village Inn, upgraded to the Romantic Suite .. so glad that we did.  The room was beautiful and the jacuzzi tub & fireplace added an extra indulgence to our daycation.

Leavenworth Village Inn  Leavenworth Village Inn Leavenworth Village Inn

We had never been to a film festival in Leavenworth, but it was $5 and just a few minutes away from our hotel.  I really had no idea what to expect.. The program said the films were supposed to start at 6:30PM, but it started closer to 8:00PM.  Nate and I stayed for the first half, watched about 12 short films, and decided to leave during the intermission… Instead of going back to our room, we took a stroll around Leavenworth.  The sun was gone, and the stars were out, and  — I was very glad that I had brought those jeans to change into! Walking around this little town with Nate.. holding hands.. enjoying the quietness.. it reminded me of when the two of us were still in college.  Oh, how I loved our evening strolls around campus together.  And, this .. this moment will be one of my favorite memories of us.  I know, something so simple as a walk around a tiny little town.. and a spontaneous stop for an apple strudel filled crepe … where we sat and talked about our day, our favorite foods we tried, our new favorite places, the places we would stop in “next time” …. the films we enjoyed most at the festival and what we really liked about them .. the ones that didn’t quite make much sense .. the ideas I had for the blog I would write about Leavenworth when I got home .. such random topics of thought, but still cherished just the same, because it was time spent together.

Stopping for Crepes.  An Evening Walk.. Next Morning

The next morning, Nate opened our window .. to SNOW! I could hardly believe it.  We watched (amazed) from inside our room .. I had wanted to do a little more shopping before going home, but wasn’t sure what the roads would look like. So, we packed our stuff up and stopped at Starbucks for a coffee.. oh and the Taffy store of course .. and two hours later, we were back home .. to sunshine!  It was truly a beautiful weekend – I enjoyed every minute of it.  We are lucky to have Leavenworth .. to have each other .. to be in Love … to be in Love in Leavenworth.

Hand & Hand .. enjoying our drive home together.

Hand & Hand .. enjoying our drive home together.

Perfect Sunset to end such a perfect weekend.
Perfect Sunset to end such a perfect weekend.


Saturday Morning Cinnamon Rolls

When we dated in college, we loved to pick up a Papa Murphy’s pizza, sometimes a movie at Blockbuster (this was before Redbox), and then .. there was that one other thing.. it was our last stop we would make to Fred Meyers or sometimes Albertsons.. to pick up the chocolate chip cookie dough.  It was the kind that came in the roll, already pre measured into that perfect circle … of sweet goodness.  This chocolate chip cookie dough – it’s the “excuse” I used to come over to his place.. to really even make that first phone call .. because well, my dorm room didn’t have an oven, and I needed an oven to bake the frozen roll of chocolate chip cookies that my aunt left inside of my mini fridge.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity .. and it was.

I always looked forward to these Saturday evenings.  I loved getting all dressed up, going over to Nate‘s and telling .. sometimes ranting .. about my crazy week and all of the ridiculous projects I was working on, and all of the “slackers” who drove me insane that I had the pleasure of “working” with on these group projects together.  I’m a team player and all, I just don’t like being the ONLY one on my team.. doing all of the work.  Sometimes, he would meet me on campus and we would take a little walk, making a stop in the Japanese Garden, it was always so peaceful to just walk, hold hands, and just enjoy each other.  This was our time together, without the distractions of assignment deadlines, studying for tests, lectures from professors, this was our time.. and oh how I treasured every second of it… our Saturday nights.. and our Chocolate Chip cookies.

Now, 8 years later .. we are married.  Don’t get me wrong, we still enjoy our Saturday nights… but sometimes, it’s the Saturday Mornings I enjoy the most.  It’s interesting how life changes once you graduate from college and go from dating .. to being married.  We don’t have children yet, so our schedules are still somewhat flexible.  But, professors have been replaced with employers and assignments have been replaced with testing bacteria in apple juice and keeping a front desk staffed.  These “tasks” can still be my “rants” of the week… sometimes of the day… but I love knowing that no matter what happens during the week, there is still Saturday to look forward to.  It’s still our day – we spend together.  We’ve “graduated” from chocolate chip cookie dough to something more sophisticated .. Cinnamon Rolls!  And, it’s our “Saturday Mornings” together.. okay, sometimes it’s our “Sunday Mornings” depending on how our weekend plays out.  Nonetheless, when we are grocery shopping together, and Nate picks up that round blue cylinder of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, not even on our grocery list..  I know what he is thinking about.. he usually has this half grin, looking back at me, I can’t help but smile.  We are both (already) thinking of our time together over Cinnamon Rolls on Saturday Morning.

Family Ties

Every year my grandmother puts together what is called the “Barbour Family Breakfast”.  What started out with just a few relatives meeting for breakfast has now turned into 40+ relatives coming together for a few hours in the morning – some even bring their spouse & children, and they all catch up with each other, and also share those precious memories .. they hold on to, but also pass down to others .. like me.

I’ve only been to a few of these get togethers, but I’m grateful for each one I attend, as each year I feel like I can put together more of the puzzle, the family tree, that my grandmother has kept in tact all of these years.  All of these years, she tells me about the memories she has with her parents, and the stories her parents would tell her when they were young.  And then, she tells me about 2nd and 3rd cousins, and their spouses and children, and she updates me on each life, with just a snapshot she holds in her hand..and I suddenly feel like I’ve known them my entire life.

When I walked through Tom & Sues door Saturday morning, I was greeted by so many happy faces, and just knowing that I was somehow related to each one of them put a smile on my face!  Sue was an exceptional hostess, making Mexican hot chocolate as we entered into her DREAM kitchen!  I stood back for a moment, taking in all of the chitter-chatter, watching as each person exchanged hugs, smiles, laughter, and I thought about my own luck in being part of such a loving, caring and extraordinary group of people.

While I stand in line, trying to decide from the various dishes what to eat, Aunt Jean passes me by, she whispers in my ear, “Sandra said this is a Cinco De Mayo Celebration”. “Yes”, I tell her, “Isn’t this great.!” She looks at me, smiles.. walking away, she stops and says, “Wait, I’m not Mexican.”  I giggle softly to myself, and continue down the counter of delicious food .. taking a small spoonful of a few different breakfast casseroles, and some fresh fruit.  My husband has already fixed his plate of food and has saved me a seat next to him.  I catch up with Amy, whom is one of my many cousins, who I also met at the last breakfast, and have now become “facebook” friends, and now, we are visiting.. as if no time has gone by. I listen to Aunt Jean, who is entertaining our table of 8, telling us about a conversation she had with one of the guys who live in the same Assisted Living Community as her. “Well, I told him I was going to a party this morning..” She looks so innocent as she goes on with the conversation, “He asked if there would be male strippers there.”  I’m thinking to myself, “Are you kidding me, who in their right mind.. would ask someone of her age, such a question!” Aunt Jean goes on, “I told him, well gosh, I don’t know.. but I sure hope so!” We all are laughing, trying not choke on our food.. as she goes on with the “next” story, she is full of all sorts, and that is when I start to wonder.. is that where I get it from??  Nate always teases me about “my stories”

I take some time and walk around to the 4 other tables of people, listening to conversations.. rehashing old memories, stories of those who have passed on, grandchildren being born, going to college.. some grandchildren who have their own families.. I meet Brock, whom I remember my grandmother telling me about.  He is recently married and come to find out, he and I are both the “oldest” grandchildren in our own respective families.  Of course, he & I are related – and we try to figure it out .. but it’s okay, we are related and that’s all that matters.

I venture outside, Sue & Tom’s backyard is (literally) just as beautiful as a park, the yards landscaping is immaculate with tall trees, various colorful flowers, a walkway that leads you down to a cute little bridge with a shallow stream of water that runs through it.  I catch up with Holly, we talk about St. Bernards, her vacation in Cali and our upcoming vacation to Europe. Her son Jake leaps over the water, just barely making it with the tips of his heels touching the edge of the stream.  He goes again, telling us this time – he’ll jump farther, and he does.. the little girls are busy picking up flower petals from the ground, bringing them down to float in the water.. they are enamored by how quickly the stream carries each petal away .. and they continue to gather more to throw into the water.

It is almost noon, and I’ve lost track of time, wishing for just this moment, time could stand still and I could spend just a little while longer.  I know it will be probably at least another year before I’ll see everyone again, and there will be new stories to be told, mixed in with the favorite old stories as well.  I walk back up to Sue & Tom’s home, snatch both my Aunt Barb & Aunt Dina for a quick picture together.  We walk back inside only to take yet more pictures together with my granny, my aunt patsy .. these are the memories I’ll keep with me.. These are the relatives I will continue to build relationships with.. these are my Family Ties.