Saturday, December 22, 2012

Family Heritage

Steve and I traveled to Idaho for Thanksgiving this year. We spent three days visiting with my grandma and all of the Martin relatives. What made this trip special was a visit up to the Prairie where my grandma was raised.  The prairie is a place that is often talked about amongst my family and I can't believe it took this long for me to see it with my own eyes. 

The prairie itself was just as I envisioned, but getting there is a different story. We climbed through the mountains on windy dirt roads, just wide enough for one car to pass - the same route my grandma took as a child when they made the grueling drive into town. Back then, there were portions of the road that were so dangerous my grandma's dad made the family get out of the car while he drove across, for fear that the car wouldn't make it. There are only a few homes up at the prairie, and it is hours from stores, restaurants, hospitals, and other modern day comforts that we take for granted today. 

Along the drive, I couldn't help but wonder how my family ended up in such a desolate, far away place. The story goes that a long, long, time ago, my relatives robbed a Wells Fargo horse-drawn wagon and fled deep into the Idaho mountains to the prairie. They wanted to find a place so difficult to get to that they wouldn't get caught. It is thought that someone in the family still has the Wells Fargo trunk! 

When we arrived at the Prairie, we pulled into the same house that my grandma grew up in. A tiny house where her brother Elmer and his wife Barb still live today. My grandma often talks about riding her horses to school in the snow and having to run outside in the cold, dark night to use the bathroom. And although the house has been retrofitted with an indoor bathroom, the old hut still stands to this day. And the cellar, right across from the house, my grandma says, is where her mother would store all of the canned foods. 

The land is owned by my grandmother's relatives and for miles and miles, all you can see is open land, property that will stay in the family forever. And all of that private land means a safe place to shoot guns whenever and wherever. And my step-dad came prepared! He brought his brand new rifle to try out and we all gave it a go. The gun boomed and echoed so loud, but it was fun and easy to shoot. 

 And during my turn, I managed to hit the barbed wire fence across the street, dead on. 

See the bullet flying back in the air by my mom's cheek?? 

The prairie is such a beautiful and peaceful place. An ideal homestead for cowboys, cowgirls, and those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

And I am thankful to have seen this part of my family history and learn a little bit more about my grandma's fascinating life. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Music Night!

My new Leadership friend, Wendy, organized a get together at her house centered around music. Our leadership class is full of talented musicians so the night was full of promise. I certainly cannot hold a note, and my only experience with an instrument is a short stint in 5th grade with the violin. So, needless to say, I contributed as band photographer. Wendy often has family music nights so she had every musical instrument under the sun! Fun and easy instruments like bongo drums, maracas, hand cymbals, a harmonica, tambourine, recorder, and rain stick, to name a few! Michael rented a drum set for the weekend, and with Josh's bass, Wendy's piano, and Melody's voice, we had a full blown band! And it sounded like we've all played together for years! :)

Everyone had a chance to try out an instrument and we all sang together at the top of our lungs. We played every song we all knew the words to, and when we didn't know the words we googled them and sang anyway! 

It was seriously one of the most entertaining, silly, awesome, and wonderful Friday nights ever and hope to do it again soon!!!

And the cast of characters:

Josh on bass

Alexandra and Josh rockin' out!

Michael, our drum expert

Wendy shows Danielle a bongo beat!

Liz chimes in on the maracas

Alexandra had a great time on the drums!

All of those nights playing Rock Band with my little brother paid off!

Rachel and Wendy Lucas - such wonderful hosts! 

Melody, Brian and Alexandra 

Alexandra and Danielle

The whole gang!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

We made great strides!!

This year, I volunteered on the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of San Luis Obispo committee. We spent months planning a fun, heartfelt, and successful event! My girls came to SLO to join me on the walk, which made it all the more memorable. I am so thankful for all of their help. We got to the Mission Plaza bright and early to help set up and it wouldn't have happened without them! 

My dear friend Michael from Applemoon Photography graciously agreed to photograph the event, and his lovely little family joined in the fun! It all came together seamlessly and I am humbled and honored to have been a part of an amazing group of women who poured their time, love, and energy into this local event.

And thank you to all of the donors and supporters out there! My team, Breast Friends, raised $1,335! And overall, the event raised more than $60,000! Amazing! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Heart is Content INDEED!

During the month of November, I really tried to focus back in on my happiness project and with much success! I think the holidays are the perfect time to reflect on your behavior and attitude towards others and the small things you can do to be a better person and to enjoy life to the fullest!

  • Be polite
You guys - I held so many dang doors open for people. I will admit, there were a couple of instances where the tricky 'who goes through first' thing came up, but I did my best to get to that door first and hold it open rather than slipping awkwardly on through. I had to consciously think of this every day, and it's still a work in progress, but with enough practice and focus, I have high hopes for a successful door opening future! 
  • Use good manners
Well, I don't have a bathroom door, so I still pee with the "door" wide open - but I did manage to shut every bathroom door at Grandma's house! SUCCESS! Ha! I am also guilty of shoving food in my face at Thanksgiving...way too much food. I had a turkey baby and a potato coma and went to bed at like 8pm. Ooops. Better luck next year!
  • Don't get too hungry
My Costco pack of granola bars is gone - so I think this went over pretty well. Plus, I was only mean once, and all I will say is that it had more to do with vodka than not eating. ;)
  • Dance more often
I am known to cut a rug from time to time.
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