Saturday, October 8, 2011

First Year

Unbelievably we are one week away from our one year anniversary of moving to ABQ.  I believe every first year of something new is the most difficult.  The first year of elementary school, the first year of middle school (awkward!), the first year of high school, the first year of college, the first year of marriage and the first year of a new job.  It just takes time to adjust to change and to figure out how things work and where you fit in.  Although this year has definitely had its rough patches, when I compare our first year in ABQ to other first years overall it has gone pretty well.

Our biggest regret when we moved from Colorado was that we were too busy (and broke) and we didn't get to enjoy the mountains as much as we had thought we would.  Now that Micah has more free time since he isn't bogged down by his PhD work (and we have dual incomes), almost every weekend for the past 50 weeks we have been doing something fun.  We were actually doing activities so often that I have had to tell Micah to go without me because I can't keep up!  For the most part climbing has taken up most of our time and many weekends we traveled to places in New Mexico and Colorado to get to great climbing.  Initially I thought our gas budget could be less than it was in Colorado since we aren't commuting as far to our jobs, but when you go on a road trip almost every weekend you spend A LOT on gas.  But it's totally worth it to enjoy the great outdoors.

We have had a surprising number of friends and family visit us over the past year.  We didn't think many people would want to visit ABQ since it isn't up to par with Colorado, but we were wrong.  Jasmine was the first person to visit on her way from CA to CO in October, Micah's parents came for Thanksgiving, my brother Kent came in January, Katie and Ryan came in February, Amy, Travis and Wyatt came in February, Micah's parents came in April, my parents came in April, Micah's dad came in June, Megan and Ben came in July, Micah's mom came in August, Kent is on a plane right now for his second trip to ABQ and Katie is coming again in a couple of weeks for her second trip here.  There are still a few people who should make a trip down here soon (Micah's sister Becca and her family, my older brother Kyle and his family, Paige and Andy, Melissa, Landan, Alex and Janelle, Rachel, Lyndsey, Joy)  :).  But we understand and luckily we have been able to see almost all of you in the last year :).

One of our biggest fears when we moved here was how difficult it would be to make new friends.  Friendships take time to develop and it's hard to find people who have similar interests.  But we were fortunate to have met the Turner family: Dan and Val and their two kids Auggie and Eland.  Micah works with Dan and last December he and his wife Val invited us over for the evening. We quickly found that we all enjoyed climbing, and the friendship developed from there.  Although Micah and I took our time finding a church, we are now going to the same church as the Turner's as well (we wanted to be sure we weren't going there just because we knew the Turner's already).  We have spent many weekends climbing with the Turner family (and many hours talking on the car rides to and from the climbing areas), which has helped our friendship develop quickly.  We live about a mile apart which is very convenient as we are able to help each other out with random things since none of us have family close by (Val has watched our cat for us many times when we have gone on trips, we have watered their plants, we have brought each other to the airport, etc).  Micah and Dan have gone climbing and mountain biking together and Val and I have spent many hours just talking.  And their kids are great!  Knowing the Turner's has made our move to ABQ so much better!

The church we have found has also helped our adjustment.  We have been going to a Community Group  where we have met some great people and we look forward to what God has in store there. We are so much more involved with this church than we ever were with our church in Boulder, which is exciting.  It helps that it is so much smaller which forces involvement, and since the pastors know us by name they realize if we don't show up on Sunday :).

Some days we really miss Colorado (I especially miss my job at CCH!), but we have learned that ABQ has great things to offer as well.  And, although this has nothing to do with ABQ, last weekend we bought a new car which is possible due to dual incomes during the last year.

It seems we are here for the long haul, and we are excited to see what our second year will bring.  Hopefully things will get easier as friendships grow and we become more established in our jobs, but every year does bring change no matter where you are.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


This past weekend I went to Michigan.  It was my grandma's 90th birthday and I wanted to be there to help her celebrate this milestone.  In addition to two birthday parties for my grandma, I was also able to spend a day with my parents enjoying Holland, meet up with the girl relatives on my mom's side for lunch, hang out with my niece and nephew, spend time with my brothers and my sister-in-law, see a couple of close friends from high school and also spend a little time with my in-laws.  It was a very packed trip to Holland, as usual, but totally worth it.

My trips home are always filled with memories since there are numerous places I like to visit every time I am there such as downtown, the Peanut Store, Crane's, the beach and Donutville.  These are places I frequented during my childhood and I haven't found anything to replace them yet!  Every run I go on in Holland brings back memories of running in high school.  Just being at my parent's house (now my brother and sister-in-law's house) and Micah's parent's house brings back a ton of memories of my high school days as well.

This trip home, though, brought back even more memories since my parent's are in the process of moving out of their house, thus I had to go through my stuff that is stored there to figure out what I really wanted to keep (read: have them bring out to NM in the near future).  Also, Micah's parents are starting the process of packing as they will soon be moving to southern CO and of course my grandma's birthday got us all thinking about our memories with her.

Even though I really like to get rid of things that I don't think are necessary, I do get sentimental about all of my high school cross country awards, articles, plaques and t-shirts so that stuff is definitely being kept.  But the elementary school projects are a little more grey.  For example, in first grade Megan Vandermeer and I decided to create a book about two ducks...on HUGE paper.  I clearly remember laying on the floor of her basement when she lived on Joyce St in Holland and working for days on this book.  We were so proud.  My parents recognized all of the work that went into this book and 22 years later they still have it!  In my last blog post I posted pictures of the book, with translation as we quite obviously could not spell yet.  The paper we used was probably about 2'x3' and it is now deteriorating.  So for treasures such as this book, that I want to remember but don't want to put in storage, pictures are going to suffice.  Here is another elementary school gem: a newspaper with articles of about ME :).

Some homemade cross country t-shirts...

The t-shirt from my best race ever...

And the "controversial" team shirt...

Seriously, the girls tennis team took offense to this.  I guess they can't handle the truth :).

During my grandma's birthday party my dad suggested we all share memories of grandma.  I think we all needed a little more time to think because it wasn't until after the party that I started thinking of things I could have shared.
  • My grandparents used to pick me up from pre-school sometimes because they lived really close.  I remember walking back to their house from the school.
  • Grandma used to serve sandwiches on napkins, which I always thought was really strange
  • Grandma always had Windmill cookies in the house for grandpa
  • One year for Christmas my grandparents bought me a HUGE teddy bear.  It was too big to wrap so they hid it in the shower in the basement.  I'll never forget finding that bear there!
  • Sometimes we'd play games at my grandparent's house, and they kept the games in the bottom drawer of the dresser in the sewing room.
  • One time my brothers and I spent the night at my grandparents house.  Even though they had a few spare bedrooms upstairs, no one really went up there so they had us sleep in our sleeping bags on the floor in the living room.  My brothers and I were goofing off and not falling asleep, and my grandma came in and said "If you kids aren't quiet you will have to go upstairs and sleep in separate rooms!"  That is one of the only times I ever remember my grandma getting mad.  And the threat worked - there was no way we were going to sleep in such a "scary" place!
  • We all remember how fast of a walker grandma has always been.  I bet she would have been a great runner!
I am truly amazed at how great Grandma is doing at 90.  She volunteers almost every day at church, at a soup kitchen or just bringing the "old" ladies to the grocery store.   She spent a little time telling us stories from her childhood and it is hard to believe how well she remembers things that happened over 70 years ago!
Here I am with Grandma and my brother Kent at her birthday party

I am so glad I had the opportunity to go back to Holland, even if it was only for a few days.  It is always a great time, and I enjoy making new memories with family and friends every time I am there as well.

The Two Ducks

Once upon a time there were to ducks named Huey an Dewey and they liked to play together and they liked to play ball together.

The two ducks liked to swim together and they liked to splash together.

The two ducks liked to eat together and it was Huey's birthday and Dewey gave a bike to Dewey.  And he gave him a horn to put on his bike.

Huey and Dewey like to ride bikes together.  And Huey set his horn because because Huey and Dewey like to play parade together.

Huey and Dewey are going to the mall with their moms in the car to shop for clothes for all of them.  Huey and Dewey want to buy a toy for them.

The four kids like to go horse back riding together.  Really, really like to go horse back riding together.

All of the ducks like to roast marshmallows together.  Their names are Huey and Duey, and their sisters names are Sara and Webe, and their moms and dads names are Mark, Jon, and Mary and Jody.

Huey and Dewey and Sara and Webe and their dads and their moms all like to watch fireworks together.

All of the ducks went to their houses to go in the bathtub.  Then they got ready for bed.  Then they went to bed.

Huey and Sara like to eat breakfast together.  They went to Dewey and Webe's house to play.

Sara and Dewey and Webe and Huey all like to go rollerskating together.  They can roller skate very, very good.

Huey and Dewy and Sara and Webe like to splash in the puddles together.

Sara and Dewey like to make a snowman together.  It took lots of work.

Now it is night time again now.  The ducks are going to sleep again so they can get some rest.  But they get to look at books for a couple minutes.  They couldn't get to sleep because they were too tired.  The End.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Marriage and Climbing

Micah and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary last Saturday.  It really is crazy how time flies.  A lot has changed in the last six year years: we both completed multiple degrees, we bought and sold a house in Colorado, we made many new friends, we have had different jobs, we moved to New Mexico, etc.  But today when I was putting things away around the house I was thinking about the things that have not changed.  We still have a lot of the same stuff we got as wedding gifts.  Our towels are starting to look more like rags, our throw pillows are getting worn, our dishes are all getting chipped and we have broken a few glasses, but for the most part we still have it all (thanks again for everyone's generosity when we got married!).  We also, embarrassingly, have the furniture we inherited from our parents after we got married: the 25 year old kitchen table from my parents, the living room tables from my parents, and the couches from Micah's parents.  It all still works and is comfortable so we still have it!

The couches and living room tables in our first apartment

My parents' old kitchen table in our first apartment

But besides the physical items we have had since the day we got married, we also still have our love for each other.  In fact, as I have heard my parents say so many times about their relationship, I believe we love each other more today than we did on August 13, 2005.  We have had our rough patches like everyone else, but everything we have gone through has drawn us closer to each other in the end.  We seem to understand each other even more than we did six years ago.  In fact, when we were climbing the other night I realized that I am starting to read Micah's mind.  No joke.  When you are lead belaying someone you need to anticipate when they are going to pull up a lot of rope to make the next clip.  Some people shout "clipping" every time they go for a clip, but Micah and I don't shout very loudly so that doesn't work for us.  Now I know just from watching Micah's body language when he is going to pull up the rope even if I can't actually see the next draw on the wall.

Micah pulling the rope to clip the next draw

We went climbing in the Sandias on Saturday to celebrate our anniversary.  As we were hiking out after our climb I realized how much climbing resembles a marriage.  When you are climbing you really have to trust your partner.  The lead climber must trust his belayer to catch him if he falls, and the person following must trust the lead climber to set up a solid anchor at the top of the pitch.  Trust is also key in a good marriage.  For both climbing and marriage, you have to be prepared for the worst, which could be bad weather or injuries in climbing and pretty much anything in marriage.  You will get bumps and bruises along the way with both, but each of those minor setbacks teaches you something for the future.  Climbing and marriage our both an adventure :).

At the top of the first trip on our anniversary climb

I trust that over the next sixty plus years of marriage our love for each other will continue to grow, we will become even better "mind readers" and we will continue to enjoy the sport of climbing.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Changing My Life Perspective

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about the quote, "Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read."  I first heard this when listening to Dave Ramsey, but I'm not exactly sure who was the first to say it (maybe John Wooden, an American basketball player and coach, according to a quick Google search).  I believe this quote is spot-on.

Although there are definite advantages to living in one place during one's lifetime, moving to another state has pushed Micah and I to branch out and make new friends.  Often we are drawn to people who had a similar upbringing to us, but sometimes we befriend those who came from a completely different background.  We are both introverts so I'm pretty confident we would not be meeting many new people if we had stayed in Holland, MI our whole lives, and I am loving the fact we have met many new people over the years who have taught us different things about life.

One of my newest friendships is with a co-worker named Araceli.  She lived in Mexico for ten years as a child and she still speaks Spanish with her husband and family.  Although she is practically fluent in English, per her request I correct her when I hear her use the wrong tense or gender (he for she and vice versa).  Araceli started running in high school and became pretty fast in college.  Since college she has not been as consistent with her running but right before we met each other she had decided she wanted to start running regularly again.  We have been training together for the La Luz Trail Run (after much persuasion she convinced me to train with her), and I have really enjoyed getting to know her and learning more about her past.  She definitely has put my life into perspective.  As I learn more about her childhood I am astounded that even though she did not have the same opportunities I did growing up, she does not let that get in the way of her success.  She is almost done with her MBA and has high aspirations for her future.  I have a lot of respect for Araceli and I am so happy that she convinced me to train with her.

At the tram on top of Sandia Peak during a run
I have also been reading a lot of great books lately.  I highly recommend them all!  And if you have any to recommend please let me know :).

  • Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor
  • Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
  • Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore
  • Love Wins by Rob Bell
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  • Untouchables by Narendra Jadhav
It isn't easy changing who we are as we all get stuck in a rut at times, but right now I am enjoying this process.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Speedsters & Whippers & Weavers. Oh My!

I truly cannot believe how many bad drivers reside in ABQ.  Daily, I fear for my life and the lives of those around me.  Not even kidding.  It is so bad that I am actually contemplating buying a SUV for safety reasons.  Well, more than contemplating as we already test drove some vehicles and we have been doing plenty of research on the best one to buy.

There are all types of ABQ drivers:
  1. Sneaksters.  Some ABQ drivers must think the rest of us are psychic as they never use their blinkers, whether turning corners or changing lanes.  This drives me bananas.
  2. Speedsters.  They must not teach ABQ drivers that the speed LIMIT is actually the maximum speed you are allowed to travel on the road.  Of course we all go slightly over this at times, but the general rule is about 5 over, not 15.
  3. Creepers.  Contrary to what some ABQ drivers may think, driving extremely slow, such as 55 MPH on the highway where the speed limit is 70 MPH, is actually quite dangerous.  It is just as scary to quickly approach a creeper as it is to be passed by a speedster.
  4. Drifters.  There are two types of "lane changers" in ABQ: drifters and whippers.  There are those that believe they should be very cautious when changing lanes and they slowly inch over from one lane to the next - drifters.  
  5. Whippers. On the other hand, there are those that must jerk their steering wheel as they practically flip their car when changing lanes - whippers.  Doesn't matter if you are a drifter or a whipper, you are both dangerous.  Even more scary - a drifter and whipper changing into the same lane.
  6. S.P.I.L.L.s.  This is actually an acronym Micah and I came up with in Colorado as we were very annoyed with this type of driver: Slow Poke In Left Lane, or SPILL for short.  This is the person poking along in the left lane of they highway while they're on their cell phone, talking to someone else in the car, or just not paying attention for whatever reason (believe it or not, Colorado actually has a law against being in the left lane unless passing now).  Surprisingly, SPILLs are even more abundant in ABQ.  This is awful on a four lane highway since ABQ drivers obviously don't understand that the right lane is the slowest and the left lane is the fastest.  Which leads to the next problem.
  7. Weavers.  I swear some people think morning rush hour is a great time to practice their Nascar skills.  I am often yelling at people for this very reason on my way to work.  Not a great way to start the day.
  8. Red Light Racers.  When we first moved to CO Micah and I were shocked by how many people sped up when they saw yellow lights.  We soon caught on that this was necessary to avoid being rear-ended since this was the common driving style in CO.  However, we will not follow suit with the Red Light Racers in ABQ.  It is scary how many people see a light turn red and step on the gas.  It is so bad that when you are the first person stopped at a red light that turns green you actually must pause and look both ways to make sure everyone has stopped before proceeding.  Just awful.
  9. Emergency Vehicle Ignorers.  I thought it was common knowledge that you should pull over to the right and stop when an emergency vehicle is behind you.  This simply does not happen in ABQ.  Still not really sure why.
  10. Chicken Players.  This is a daily occurrence.  Tramway is a road by our house that I drive on with many short merge lanes.  For some reason ABQ drivers think we should be playing chicken so they just move into my lane, instead of yielding, when in the merge lane.  Since I drive such a small vehicle I am generally the chicken.  Yes, I do have to hold my fingers down as I speed ahead of the Chicken Player and get ahead of them again (the Subaru may not be big but at least it's quick).    
  11. Last Second Stoppers. These are the people who wait until the last second to stop at a stop sign.  I try to be a defensive driver so they usually cause me to slam on the brakes and or swerve as I am anticipating an accident.  These guys really fool me.
  12. Nose Pokers.  I do acknowledge the fact that ABQ has an abundance of blind corners, but seriously, can't you stop behind the stop sign first and then move forward slowly to see if it is safe to turn?  Quite often I have to swerve around ABQ drivers who have their nose poked out into the crossroad.
  13. Crunchers.  A dented or crunched up car is not a sign of honor like a battle wound.  When I see a crunched up car I get away as quickly as possible to avoid being the car's next victim.
  14. Drunk Drivers.  Unfortunately, drunk drivers are quite a problem here.  I know this is a problem everywhere but I hear about them a lot more often in ABQ than I did living in CO.
I could probably go on forever describing the variety of ABQ drivers that I battle each day.  It's ridiculous.  Thanks for letting me vent :).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I just read my friend Joy's post about how time flies and I couldn't agree more.  I can hardly believe it is already late May!  We have been having a lot of fun this year, but sometimes I wonder if we are staying TOO busy.  Lately we have been:

Climbing:  We have gotten back into rock climbing since we moved to ABQ and we have been happy to discover numerous outdoor climbing spots within a 2 hour radius of ABQ.  As an added bonus, my upper body is the strongest it's ever been :).

Running: Micah and I both entered a lottery to run in the La Luz Trail Run (9 miles up a trail to the Sandia Crest in ABQ).  We were both selected to run the race so we have been spending time running on the trails, which are actually only about a mile from our new house!  I have never been much of a trail runner since I easily turn my ankles and going up is just hard, but I am actually having a lot of fun with it.  The race is August 7 so we need to get in a lot of good training between now and then!

Settling In: We are 99% moved into our new place.  We really love the location and the house suits us much better than the house we were in for our first six months in ABQ.

WFR Course: Micah and I both signed up for a Wilderness First Responder course.  I am still a bit apprehensive as we have to go to class Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-9:00 p.m. for the next six weeks, plus attend three day long Saturday sessions, but so far I have been learning a lot.  Yesterday we learned how to take each other's blood pressure, this weekend we will be learning splinting, and eventually we will even learn how to deliver a baby in case of emergency!  The course is intense, but I think we will both feel safer in the wilderness after we have proper training.

Celebrating Micah's Birthday:  Okay, this hasn't actually taken as much time as the other things we have been doing, but Micah's 29th birthday was this past Monday.  He doesn't really like to celebrate his birthday, but I decided it would be a great excuse to have new friends over to the house.  On Sunday evening we grilled and enjoyed great company!  Crazy that I have been around for 13 of Micah's birthdays!  That makes us feel like we are getting old...

We are really enjoying life in ABQ.  We have been blessed with jobs, great friends, a good church, and mountains in close proximity so that we can get out and enjoy the activities that we love.