September 16, 2017

Finito (and apples)

Guess what? I am done college. Like doneso-done.

I was actually done college several weeks ago, but as the school year starts, I am finally realizing what it means to be DONE COLLEGE.

(A warning--I plan on interspersing pictures of our apple tree throughout this blog post in an attempt to be artsy and not post a pictureless post. The effect is a little jarring and perplexing, but... there it is. We will just operate on the assumption that apples are always an appropriate addition to any discussion.)

August is always a little busy with conventions, and college finished up right in amongst convention. Getting done felt a little like a marathon. Justin worked in Syracuse most of the summer as well, so that made it all feel rather busier than it probably was. I finished up (mostly) the Wednesday of Altamont and had just a little bit to finish up early Thursday morning, hunkered down in the Suburban while Justin watched the kids. With that off my mind, I was able to settle in and really appreciate convention. So incredibly, incredibly needed.

(Peaceful scene, laying under the apple tree about to be beaned by a falling apple)

After convention however, I fell into a bit of a blue funk. I don't know what it was, but... I just sort of fell apart. My house descended into a state never to be discussed and my to-do-before-school-starts list went completely untouched. I couldn't make myself DO anything. Somehow, the release of all the pressure of this past year seemed to deflate me. My sister likened it to something like postpartum depression--I just birthed a degree, so I had a bit of a postdegree depression. (that would sound so much better in latin... must google....Oooh! Postgradus depression we can call it.)  Being depressed took me totally by surprise. A very weird thing. I really thought I would feel a bit like I had just scaled Everest or at least Denali when I was finally done. All that accomplishment and excitement and WOOHOO-ness! But instead, I felt a little like I got to the summit and realized I was on the wrong mountain--how did I get here? And why on earth did I want to climb this mountain in the first place?!  

(Random flawed apple that has nothing to do with graduate degrees or mountains, but might pertain to flawed expectations?)

Thankfully with school starting again and getting back into a regular schedule, things are looking up. I am excited about being a school librarian--I have plans (sort of)! Things to do! Things to accomplish! Justin was home for the whole week last week and having him around rebalanced me. My house is clean. I have actually been cooking (pot roast and potatoes kind of cooking that is, rather than the "Make yourself a quesadilla for supper, honey" form of cooking of this past summer.) I take a nap if I feel like it. I read absorbing books again. I have begun to "snuggle and read a book" with Gilbert and Elsie again. (How on earth did that get relegated to the not strictly necessary pile of life? It sort of makes me weep when I think of all the snuggling and reading books we did NOT do this past year. Sigh.) I have begun to hound kids to do dishes, clean their room, and pick up after themselves, another thing I didn't have the energy for during college--it was easier to do it myself or ignore it than go through the arguments of children.

(I also didn't do anything with apples while I was in college, if you were wondering. No pies, no applesauce, no apple cakes.)

I can't even tell you how marvelous it was to come home from school on the first day and just listen to what the kids were telling me about their day and not get on the computer once. NOT ONCE. My laptop has been ousted from it's permanent place on our dining room table. It is no longer my constant companion. I am slowly, slowly coming back to normal. 

What a lovely place to be!

(A final shot of apples in sunshine. Because let's face it--apples and sunshine make any place a better place to be.)

August 25, 2017

Surf Beach in Lompoc, CA Part 1

Since we were in California, we wanted to see the Pacific. 

We had lunch with my brother Tyler in Lompoc where his truss company is located and then headed out to find a beach. 

The first beach we went to (whose name escapes me) was shut so that one type of plover could nest undisturbed. 

So we went to the next beach, Surf Beach.

Surf Beach has a train station. In case you ever need a train to the Pacific. 

Heading down to the water. 

Surf Beach is so named because it has a fierce undertow  which produces nice waves. So no swimming going on! 

Dunes and water

I know those kids!

And these!

My lovely sister-in-law, Lisa


What a cool crew of kids! They all had such a good time together! Wish we could have stayed longer...

My Orianna girl

Messy haired Elsie

Burying Andy


I love her!

Now for some waves!

Erin (who is called Mouse) Swenson came with us. She and Justin grew up together for a little while in Colorado. She has these two adorable kiddos!

The diggingest boys


My Justin

August 3, 2017

Santa Maria Hike

Our first full day in California, we went on a hike near Santa Maria. 

Seeing signs like this made us a little leery. But somehow, mountain lions didn't approach our group of four adults and nine boisterous kids. Surprising! 

Levi was all ready with his walking stick and water bottle.

Heading up

California Poppies!! Isn't the color unbelievable? I want a something or other in that color. Maybe a wall? It is a little too intense for an entire room. 


Going to check out forts. Their New York cousins were convinced they were going to be bitten by rattlesnakes, but no puncture wounds happened here. 

My hiking companion

Flowers that I have not yet identified. 


I really planned on digging out my wildflower guide and diving into flower identification, but... I didn't. This is a sad commentary on the state of my summer. 

Aren't these wild?! 

Peeling eucalyptus

Andy running around the top.

All the kiddos

Breanna read most of the hike, but never fell over or tripped. It was a modern day miracle. 

Hiking down the other side. 

I may have been moseying around at the back taking pictures of flowers.

Bright red!

Some dried flowers

This is apparently poison sumac. Don't touch it! 

Lisa, Darra, and Levi

Thistle fluff! 

lichen of sorts

Hummingbird Sage

Gnarly old tree! I love this thing.

There was a lot of moss hanging around

Teensy little flowers 


This was a cool flower that seemed to have purple blossoms with white flowers and yellow centers.

Levi was going to take this horn on the hike to scare away mountain lions, but we decided it would be better left in the vehicle. The kids love it though!