Wednesday, December 29, 2010


We were fortunate to share the holidays with our family from Texas.
We are so thankful they made the trip.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I forgot to tell you – because I’m still kind of not in reality mode here but very excited nonetheless…

Our daughter Erin is engaged!

Chris, her boyfriend, asked Mike and the boys, at Thanksgiving, if he had their blessings to ask Erin to marry him. She knew – they’ve been talking.

I guessed the ring would appear before the New Year.

They decided to go for a ride the other night to see the Lunar Eclipse. They used their camera to take a self portrait while it was happening. Chris checked the picture and set it up for another. This time he says to her “look at the camera” and she turns, he’s on his knees. Before she realizes what is happening, she squats down too and says “do we need to get lower for the picture?”. He managed to stand her back up and get back down to propose before the camera went off for a second picture.

She said yes. I’m anxious to talk with them – they are enroute home today!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I am so Thankful...

1. Whoo-hooo... the upcoming holiday seasons. Thankful for the blessings we are given.

2. I am thankful to have a job I enjoy - most of the time...

3. I am very thankful for good health, family and friends.

4. I am thankful for the occasional day off work.

5. I am thankful for social networking- and the ability to reconnect with friends from years past. It's so much fun to stay in touch.

6. I'm thankful we are able to spend so many fun nights with our family.

7. I am thankful for a peaceful, relaxing day inside while it's raining and cold outside AND the extra sleep.

8. I am thankful to see our children growing into such fun, responsible adults. You all make me so proud.

9. I am thankful the wire pins have been removed from my foot, and I am on the mend. - two shoes can't be far behind!

10. I am very thankful for my husband who is patient with me even when I frustrate myself!

11. God bless the men and women who have served our country and protect our freedom daily. I am so thankful for our Veterans.

12. I am thankful to have spent my sister's birthday with her in Chicago this month.

13. I was able to see my nephew Joe play on his traveling volleyball team, and watch my talented nieces play piano at their recital. Thank you for sharing it all with me.

14. I am so thankful we are able to help our children in an economy of uncertainties. I'm grateful they don't take advantage of our willingness to help.

15. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to spend a long weekend this month with my parents, my sister, my brother-in-law and spend time with all of my nieces and nephews.

16. I am thankful for the special moments we are fortunate enough to spend with our youngest grandson.

17. I am thankful for our newly discovered Keurig apple cider cups - yum!

18. I am so thankful to have the ability to speak Spanish and translate for women who need assistance when getting their very important mammograms.

19. I am thankful Krieg and Karissa made it home safe and sound from U of I.

20. I am thankful to say the leaves are officially raked and bagged for the season - and thankful I had the stamina to get the job done - in the snow, in rain gear, with my booted foot and iPod!

21. I am grateful for our comfortable home and the ability to make improvements so we may share with our family and friends.

22. I am grateful for our very unique family tree. Each branch is separate yet connected. I'm thankful to have so many who care about our well-being.

23. Though many miles separate me from my family, I am so thankful for my parent's good health, my brother's ability to be there when I need, my sister's willingness to listen and share and all of their unending love and support.

24. I will be so excited and grateful to know Erin and Chris have arrived safely for our Holiday together.

25. I am thankful for family and friends gathering together to share our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!

26. I'm thankful for discovering the "Black Friday" shopping last year with my kids and hope to continue the tradition this year. It was so much fun creating our plan of attack and executing it without a single glitch.

27. I am thankful to have two strong, tall sons who understand putting up Christmas decorations every year after Thanksgiving is a tradition - in Mom's mind at least.

28. Though our time together is short I am thankful for every moment we get to spend with our daughter Erin. She's a beautiful young women and truly special in our heart.

29. I am thankful to have the opportunity to share Thanksgiving with our children Erin, Matthew, Britnee & Krieg; and two 'special someones' Chris and Karissa, our grandson Taten, as well as dear friends Mike, Linda and Randy. We are so blessed!

30. I am thankful for the days that have passed and the days to come - for the holidays we gather with family and friends - for the special memories we have yet to create.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day...

Our family of veterans. Dad (Mike), sons (Michael Rihn & Matthew Robert), grandson Alexander, grandfather (Tom), and mom (Deb), as well as Krieg's godfather (Andy Otano).

Our daughter Erin put together this collage of family members who have served our country proudly. She wasn't able to locate a picture of our son-in-law Danny in uniform, who was in the National Guard but he too should be included. Mike's son Michael Rihn is married to Sharon, who is presently active duty.

We would be remiss if we forgot to mention our close family friends Mike & Linda Palomino and Flip turner as well as Erin's Godfather Lew Flitcraft. There are so many friends and family with whom we've been stationed, shared highs and lows and still remain in touch.

Thank you all for the sacrifices you've made so we may live a free life today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pizza and a Movie

Last weekend we enjoyed participating in one of Tate's favorite projects. He loves to make pizza. Gramma cheated a bit - bought ready-made pizza crust but had homemade sauce and all sort of fresh cut toppings. When he was done - he proudly showed off his own "happy face" pizza creation with a big "Ta-Da"!
Later, he donned his Dad's work boots and showed us what a hard worker he could be "just like Daddy".

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

With my Eyes Wide Open...

I've had this boot on my foot for WAY too long... It started in August but at least then I could still take it off to drive myself around. When the pins were inserted in October I was given a special "driving boot". Honestly it is so uncomfortable to wear it and the risk involved in putting pressure on the gas pedal allowed me to accept my husband's offer to drive me back and forth to work.

On several of these trips, we've had the pleasure of Taten's company. My work hours vary as does the location so the route changes. Along the way Taten shares what he sees. Railroad tracks, 'Hot balloons', dump trucks, fast cars, blue houses, pretty trees, big mountains... it's a steady commentary.

I never cease to be amazed with what he catches which we see every day - and take for granted. Everyone should stop and watch the world go by from a 3 year old's prospective. Thank you Tate for reminding me to be less jaded and enjoy my life more.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekend Retreat...

Our traditional family October retreat took place once again this past weekend. Thursday after work Matt, Brit, Taten and myself were pulling a near-all nighter to drive to Washington state, meet up with Mike (who'd been there all week visiting) and overnighted at our "summer place" with our daughter-in-law Debbie.

Friday we headed to the Coast and our little slice of heaven - Kalaloch. Our UofI students survived midterm week and drove over late Friday as well as our dear friends Mike & Linda, who recently moved to the Seattle area.

Saturday we ventured down to the beach at high tide. The beach logs were back but a convenient path to reach the water's edge was available. Despite the cold temperatures and high tide, our oldest and youngest sacrificed their dry clothing to keep their nephew entertained. Taten had talked of nothing for a week except "the beach" and he was determined to play.

With questionable "adult" supervision Taten was able to jump in the surf, stopping only for a periodic emptying of the boot when it became too full.

Erin, Matthew, Taten and Krieg

Britnee was hiding up on the beach logs with me keeping warm and DRY.

I even made it down to the shore (despite the boot/crutches and the whole non-weight bearing status) - with the help of my trusty "sticks".

There are a few beach trails that have better pathways than others. I got down to the sand, found a comfortable beach log and watched my family make special memories together.

Britnee, Matthew and Taten

Uof I Vandals - Krieg and Erin

Back inside our cozy cabin, we enjoyed a warm fire, rain falling outside (as well as some thunder, lightening and 60-70mph winds), way too much yummy food, a few competitive games and your basic R & R.

All too soon our visit was over and we were once more on the road heading our separate ways. For awhile we were a 3 vehicle caravan. Taten put his window down in Aberdeen to wave to the red (Papa) and yellow (Ah-Boo and Tio) jeeps behind us.

We even stopped in Centralia on the way home to enjoy a meal and fun visit with Debbie in her new restaurant

Another Kalaloch visit in the books. More memories in our hearts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Left or Right Hand?

Our daughter is talented, beautiful, very focused and has a great sense of humor. Much like her mother who is very RIGHT brained - that creative side.

However once in awhile her father genes shove their way to the top and take over. They aren't bad genes - in fact he has a great sense of humor however he's very black and white at times.

Today I'm bragging to her because I've got less than three (yes, count'em THREE!) hours left of work and then we will be heading for the Washington Coast.

She writes to tell me she's finished a mid-term test from ech-ee-double hockey sticks and wonders if it's too early for a margarita.

She still has a shift at the biology lab to work. She says "a margarita might make the microscope work more fun!". She's presently looking thru water samples for left handed snails.

Thinking I'm being funny I said, "Who knew there were left handed snails? How can you tell? Is their watch on their right arm?".

She proceeds to share how snails curl in a different way. If you face the opening of the snail at you, and reach in to grab the meal the holes are on different sides and the curl goes opposite, or curled around itself.

Not even a LOL. The girl needs a vacation!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Heigh Ho...

I was more anxious today than I thought I'd be, as I got ready for work. I found myself wishing I'd taken one more week off work - and yet honestly - would have hated returning even more.

It was great to be near so many of my "working ladies" again. My work load is light (read: knitting, again) for the next two weeks as I continue to train a very capable woman who only needs me for an occasional question.

How much fun being welcomed back and feeling welcomed back! Much like our lacrosse weekend with friends.

What a great way to start the week! Even if it was WORKING!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hello my name is Deb...

And I'm a Vandal Lacrosse Addict.

Apparently there are a couple other Vandal Senior parents who are open to a support group. We're thinking parent alumni gatherings near future game locations, therapy sessions near wine tasting (strictly for medicinal purpose of course) and group discussions (because we've all been "family" for too long to not stay in touch). We will create our own 12-Step program.

This weekend was the Gem State Tournament in Boise. Selfishly I offered our home up for hosting the team dinner. Honestly I was afraid I wouldn't get to any of the games and really wanted to have the chance to see everyone.

The Vandals came to town with a 26 man roster. We had nearly that many parents and family join. It was the easiest dinner I've ever hosted. One parent did all the organizing and even dropped stuff off during the week. I made a large pot of spaghetti sauce. My friend, and fellow lacrosse parent, Cindy came early (sacrificing good photography light on the sideline) to cook spaghetti and take over kitchen duties. Alex and Carol both pitched in as did so many others. The boys were treated to mounds of spaghetti, fresh salad, hot garlic bread and soooo many cupcakes and brownies...

We are so blessed to have these wonderful people as friends. Thank you all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Quiet has helped me to hear...

For months we've been nurturing a rocky relationship with an extended family member. It blew up in our faces two years ago after sharing, in January, we were postponing our annual family trip to the coast from July until October. We were all going back to Wisconsin for my parent's 50th anniversary. It was also our preference to go when Krieg would be available as he'd missed the year before.

Apparently her family was ok with our decision as they chose not to go either but they did show up in October. Of course not without a great deal of drama from our announcement.

In a summer cleansing of My Spacebook account I removed people I don't regularly contact or respond to - including a couple of family members. I figured it was my choice and another blog perhaps as I await other's thoughts on this subject.

This opened up another chapter of drama in August. I got a very friendly request from this family member asking me to 'friend' her again and then 45 minutes later received an email telling me I was a horrible person and she couldn't believe the way I treated family - as no one should remove a family member from their Spacebook account. I guess I missed that rule - but coming from her was especially ironic as two years ago this same person removed Mike and I from her 'friends list' and hadn't 're-friended' us until last fall.

I emailed and apologized, explained why I had made the choices I made and hoped we would move forward. Her answers were not of the same sentiment. Mike was concerned about her friendly request vs her angry response in less than an hours time. He expressed his concern with her. I think he was genuinely concerned about her mental well being as she's had difficulty in the past.

I've emailed a couple more times asking if we could speak. Family is a BIG DEAL to me. I don't like animosity or hurt feelings. Especially when there has been a relationship before. I've said to myself "I'm going to move on" but my heart strings have been trying to pull her back.

This week I received an email response telling me how horrible and heartless I am for removing her from the social network because she "hadn't responded in awhile". She's upset her Uncle hasn't spoke to her in her exaggerated two years (has she tried to reach out to him since she accused him of things) and (probably rightfully so) upset about his comments regarding her mental welfare.

Perhaps the solitude this week opened up my ears to better hear my heart. I've answered her -"I'm sorry. I've tried". In fact I answered her the same way to her last two emails - both going on about how awful I am.

I feel at peace. Is that horrible? I finally accept the fact that I have reached out halfway - and then some - and cannot force her to hear. She has to open her heart and truly want us in her life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Things I've learned while in Confinement...

1. Nonskid on my good foot makes the scooter go faster.
2. I don't make left turns very well.
3. I cannot back up without running over my good foot.
4. The weather outside is beautiful when you cannot escape.
5. Riley sleeps alot.
6. I suspect I'm on to the secret of hoarding narcotic prescriptions.
7. Everything I WANT to do involves being outside on TWO feet.
8. Thank you for your visit.
9. I also enjoy the chats on the phone. It breaks up the silence.
10. Make a bigger stash of chocolate.
11. I'm not very good at rationing.
12. If I take time to brush my hair, dress in something besides sweats and add a little make-up -I will be home alone all day.
13. Crutches are NOT my friend.
14. WiFi and laptops are a necessity.
15. The inventor of the duct tape/hefty bag shower combination is a freakin' genius!
16. Leaves make no noise when they crash land.
17. There is an NCIS or Law and Order on at any given time.
18. There are a lot more places online to order food AND have it delivered than I originally believed.
19. Jimmy John's needs to expand their delivery circle one quarter mile otherwise I have to meet them in the LDS church parking lot outside of our neighborhood.
20. I still like cold pizza at the age of 50!
21. I'm off work, home by myself and there are STILL others who spend more time of Facebook than I do. Sad.
22. As soon as I go up the stairs I will remember something I wanted to do downstairs.
23. If I am going past, stop and use the bathroom otherwise I'll need to as soon as I sit down.
24. There IS a limit to the number of laps I can make in the house before going crazy.
25. If I plan to sleep in - do not need to set the alarm - my neighbor will be outdoors at 8am with his electric trimmer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This little piggy went to the doctor...

As part of this 'year of changes' I began dieting and exercising. Eating smaller portions wasn't such a big deal. Making healthier choices was easier than I thought it would be.

Interval training on the treadmill, water aerobics and Zumba classes helped in shedding some weight.

At one point back in April I felt something 'pop' in my foot. I walked it off - got back on track and kept at the routine.

Ice packs on the tender spots seemed like enough. How bad could it be? It was like rolling the ankle but more on the top of my foot. Who runs to the doctor for a little ache or pain.

When I was at my annual physical we discussed the changes I've been making - I happily accepted the doctor's praise for my healthier choices. Since we were on the subject of 'aging' I asked if there was anything I could do to strengthen the ligaments or muscles in my foot and explained what happened. It was like opening Pandora's box... an x-ray to check for a stress fracture, an MRI to determine if it was tendinitis, and finally a foot specialist. Good grief.

I explained what led to my latest visit, the doctor decided I should have one more set of x-rays. He then told me I had injured a ligament in my foot. It's a common sports injury and often the result of a car accident. The lins franc ligament holds together the metatarsus and tarsus bones together.

I spent six weeks in a lovely walking boot. Ka-thunk, ka-thunk. It's a lovely addition to one's August wardrobe. (Read: HOT!) However it was unsuccessful at healing.

My choices were - 1) orthodics for six months to see if it heals on it's own, 2) 4-6 weeks in a non-weight bearing status on crutches; or 3) surgery. Each of the options led to surgery so I opted to skip all the waiting and just have the surgery. I wanted to move forward.

Last week I had ligament surgery. A nerve block to the back of my knee and an IV sedation. I woke 2 hours later with a heavy foot and a useless leg. It took over 24 hours to get any feeling back in my foot.

Imagine our household... Mike with his limited abilities because of his recovery from back surgery - Me with my booted leg.

Mike is a good sport about the chores - he hired a house cleaner!

I have three wires in my foot held in place by the beads. The pins run lengthwise with the first two bones and then one angled across the two bones and through the ligament. The pins will remain in place for six weeks.

Crutches are not my favorite means of transportation as I've determined this week... I'm a klutz. I'm somewhere between a size 5'11 and a 6'0. Mike 'fitted' them per the directions but no where did it mention the pain to the elbows and wrists or the gnarly bruises under my arm pits on the side of my breasts. (Obviously I'm not doing something right!

There should be a warning to wear a fitted shirt as an undergarment. If not for the injured party than certainly for those who have to watch... My shirt keeps riding up my chest revealing my stomach. The top of the crutches are constantly getting caught up in the sleeves of whatever I'm wearing. The under wire on my bra catches too.

On the other hand walking on crutches is a great calorie burner and my appetite is nil so perhaps I will be able to use this time to make better food choices.

Apparently the doctor agreed because when I left my follow up appointment last week I had a prescription for a new set of wheels.

A scooter! Tate calls it my 'doh-tart'.

Truthfully I would look much sweeter on a scooter like this...

But in reality this is much more realistic! Oh well...

It's a small sacrifice for two good feet. Meanwhile I have two weeks off work. Mike set up the office computer with a "foot up" area for me to sit and scan photos. I have plenty of reading material and some scrapbook projects.

I'm home alone this week while Mike visits the Texas gang. So far no drama. The weather is treating us to some gorgeous fall temperatures. I think it's time to figure out how to 'scoot' around the block with Riley. I need to be outside.
Riley is a bit leery of my wheels in the house and prefers his post on the stairwell landing.

More important - I can't wait to get back to my workout routine!

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Alexis and Adam

It's official! Mike and I will be great-grandparents to Miss Ava Grace around Valentine's Day. Today her parents, Mike's oldest grandson Adam and his wife Alexis,
learned they were to be parents to a beautiful baby girl.
We are thrilled!
Congratulations Adam and Alexis!
We love you all!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I've been debating a new tattoo on my wrist. A simple physical reminder... 'Calm' or 'Peace' - because "Ignore the constant drama created by some extended family members as no one can control their stupidity or bad manners" is just too long!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I Love the Fall Season...

I love cooler temperatures and rainy days. I love splashing in puddles, even if no one is looking!

I love lazy afternoons in warm sweatpants and socks, cozying up with my favorite 3 year old.

I love the colors in soft, warm quilt. I love how they take the chill from our soul and bring a smile to our heart.

I love the art work of Mother Nature. Her multi colored trees treat us to a color extravaganza before falling to the ground.

I love to rake leaves! I love the rustle and crunch. In no time at all, you get a pile big enough to jump and toss the leaves into the air.

I love the harvest. The corn cribs full and ready for winter. Brings back memories of my home state.

I love pumpkins... and gourds... and squash in warm, toasty colors.

I love the textures of fields, no longer blowing in a pattern in the wind but now layers of future food and warmth for the animals, stored in rolls and blocks.

I love the vineyards. I love the grapes. I love the colors. Ok so really I love the wine.

I love that the season brings us this magnificent fruit. I love the smell of a bushel of apples. I love the colors. So many treats in our future. Homebaked pies, apple struedel, apple crisp, caramel apples, apple cider.

I love the season that brings us temperatures calling us to stay inside and make homemade bread. The therapy of kneading. The soothing smell of yeast rising. What could be better than the smell of fresh baked bread? The first warm slice with fresh butter melting into the crevices.

I love the season that brings out our crock pots and stock pots and fills them with homemade soup. My comfort food.

I love football and getting to enjoy a Vandal football game with my Vandal students. I love the fact that my Vandal flag is proudly displayed on the front of our home - in the heart of Bronco territory.

I love this season. I HEART the PACK! There is no other NFL football team owned by the people. Starting their season with Training Camp, meeting the local children, riding their bikes in tandem to the practice field. They love their fans. The fans love their players. The Lambeau Leap! It started with Robert Brooks. Such a heart. I love the Pack (Did I say that already?!)

I love the Fall season.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Late in the afternoon I had a patient arrive from Grandview - a small farming community about an hour east of Boise. She’s a sweet, quiet Hispanic woman – early 40’s. We were talking about the Mobile coming to Grandview. She didn't want to wait until we returned to her home town as she’s very nervous because her doctor showed her something and she’s naturally concerned.

One of our requests is no lotion or deodorant as the aluminum can throw off the mammogram radiology. Our patient nervously giggled and proudly told me she remembered not to have lotion or underwear on… then she stopped, covered her mouth and said – oh no – I mean deodorant.

Gave us both quite a chuckle!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dad's Weekend

Dad's weekend at University of Idaho. I thought I might sneak in a weekend 'home alone' but was told by Krieg 1) Mom's come up for Dad's weekend to make sure Dad stays out of trouble and 2) it's just a day after Erin's birthday and I really should make the trip...

I did. It was great fun.

We left after work Friday night. Upon our arrival we headed downtown to The Alley and enjoyed a fun bluegrass band.

Previous visits we were entertained by 'Elaine' and the Cowboy. This visit we were not disappointed by the locals as 'LBD and cowboy boots' jumped, skipped, bobbed and shimmied her way around the dance floor. I tested out the durability of my booted foot and danced (read hobbled) on the floor with our daughter too. Figured I couldn't look any worse.

No trip to Moscow, on the weekend, is complete without a Saturday visit to Farmer's Market. The food selections and fresh coffee make me a happy camper - and there are always good deals on fresh fruits and veggies.

Of course we had to check out the Latah County Fair. Erin had a fellow gardening friend who entered pickled cucumbers - scratch that - A pickled cucumber. It wasn't too hard to find Bob's jar of pickle.
We opted for a later arrival and met up with Krieg as the tailgating was winding down before the game. We had supplemental beverages in our bags for the game.

The Vandal vs UNLV football game was in the Kibbie Dome. We started out with Krieg in the student section. It was loud and the energy vibrated. Everyone stood for the National Anthem and never sat down. I knew there was no way Mike would last standing for the duration of the game nor did I want to stand so we wandered around the end of the building to the other side of the field. We ended up sitting next to lacrosse parents/friends. The temperature was 15 degrees cooler, the noise level tolerable and we could SIT! Dang we are getting old!

The game was televised on ESPNU. Krieg and buddies were on TV several times as we got updates from Matthew, watching the game at home in Boise. Vandal beat UNLV soundly 30-7.

The game was in the evening and we'd skipped dinner so headed back downtown after the game to Mingles for a sandwich. By the time our food arrived we were ready for 'to go' boxes to escape the post-game crowds who'd finally caught up with us.

Two late nights - I saw hours of the morning I've only worked during grave yard shifts in recent years - and lots of running with Erin was great fun. Mike enjoyed his Vandal Dad's Weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed the quality time with my kids!