Friday, March 27, 2009

Pay it Forward?

The most interesting thing happened to us last night.

Next week is Spring Break for our school. I am also taking the week off of work, the first week long vacation I have taken in a really long real plans, just staying home, spring cleaning, cooking, etc. This week is one of those screwed up weeks at the school due to conferences. Ike went to school Monday through Wednesday, but was off Thursday and Friday because of conferences. Cassidy had Friday off for conferences and Kaittlin was scheduled all week with early release on Friday. Originally Kaittlin was going to be gone all day on Friday because of a track meet in Bonners Ferry, but at the eleventh hour they rescheduled the meet for Saturday. I had also scheduled myself off of work on Friday to attend the meet in BF.

So yesterday, Thursday, I ended up working late trying to get my desk cleared off to be gone for 6 work days. It was 6:00 by the time I got home and Mike was at the neighbors house helping him work on his motorcycle. Kaittlin had also just walked in the door from track practice and Ike was outside playing (Cassidy was at a friend's house spending the night). I was tired and hungry and didn't really want to deal with dinner. The rising costs of EVERYTHING have really affected our family in the last 6 - 9 months and we have really cut back our spending, but payday was Friday and I threw caution to the wind and suggested we go to Cabin City Pizza for dinner. Since we eat out so seldom anymore I had no trouble convincing anyone to get in the car and go! :)

When we walked into the restaurant it was not busy. There were only two table occupied, one with two men and one with a single women, no one we knew. We took our table, ordered, and started talking amongst ourselves. Kaittlin had taken her ASVABs that morning and spent the afternoon at Career/College day at the high school. She had brought along some of the college and military brochures she had picked up and we were passing them around and discussing options and generally having a really nice "before the meal came" time. During that time the woman who was in the restaurant got up and left and a gentlemen we know walked through and briefly stopped and talked to us.

When our food came it took the waitress a couple trips to get everything to the table. On her final trip she announced, "and I have really good news for you, your meal has been paid for". She went on to tell us that the lady who had been in the restaurant earlier told her that she had enjoyed watching our family and we made her smile. The week before someone had paid for her dinner, and she wanted to pay it forward. The waitress knew little about her other than she comes into there about once a week and her husband is a long haul truck driver. We were stunned and thrilled! What a blessing!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Busy Times

This must be a busy time for bloggers. Since the first of the year I have not had a spare minute to post to this blog & 5 of the 6 blogs that I regularly follow seem to have the same problem.

Winter has waned here in Northern Idaho. After one of snowiest Decembers on record, snow storms have been few & far between since the first of the year. It has continued to be cold & frosty, but for the most part the roads have been clear & there have been a few days that have even made you think spring might be on the way. Today WAS on exception, as it snowed & the wind blew all day...I think we got nearly 3 inches.

Let me fill you in on what has kept us so busy for the past several months.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Mike is not a paid coach for the high school wrestling team this year. However, he did agree to continue to keep computerized records of all the boys' stats & compile the paperwork necessary for their state seeding records. This, along with our family's geveral love of the sport kept us on the road several times a week this wrestling season...following the team to almost all of their matches. Thirteen of our boys advanced to the state tournament in Pocatello a couple weeks ago, which was very good for our team. However, once they got there the competition was tough & we only came away with two medals, a 4th & a 6th. The season is over except for the awards banquet & he is already looking forward to next year.

In addition the weather challenges have kept the bus garage busy, he continues to serve as the Vice President of the Lumberjack Booster Club, & in his "spare time" :) he has been rebuilding the engine in his pickup which has been on all winter project.

For myself, I continually struggle to keep up with the demands of job, home, & family. I am enjoying a several month hiatus as the co-chairman of the St. Maries Junior Miss program as Kaittlin is is strange not to be very busy with that this time of year, but a welcome time off, & fun to see Kaittlin getting to experience the program. The economy has affected the grocery business as much as it has other businesses as well. We have seen ever increasing product, delivery, & overhead costs which in turn require an increase in what we sell, which of course, affects our business. But, most of all, the biggest impact has been in the unemployment in our community. So many people are not working, therefore not spending money. We have also had to cut hours. It is just heartbreaking to see so many people struggling. I am thankful that I have a job to go to each day & that it has not yet been impacted by the economy. Even though Mike & I have continued to work our family has felt the affects of the economy as well with rising fuel, food, utility costs. We have really cut back & pray that things turn around quickly.

Kaittlin has probably been the busiest of all of us this past several months. In January she finished up her first semester of her junior year, passing her college class Fundamentals of Health (the first half of her CNA course) with a B+. She began the actual practical part of the CNA course in January. This class is quite time consuming. In addition to the two hour online class each morning at school, with whatever homework that entails she also has skills classes, clinicals, & job shadowing. The skills classes are taught by an RN at Valley Vista, the local nursing home. These classes are various afternoons from 3pm to 8pm & some Saturdays. She must have 20 hours of skills to pass her class. Clinicals are also held at Valley Vista, usually early mornings before school & some Saturdays. The students work with RNs to practice the skills they have learned with actual patients. She must have 40 hours of clinicals to pass her class. She also job shadows at the hospitals a couple mornings per month before school, shadowing another CNA. She just finished up wrestling season, as the teams stats keeper & was able to travel to the state tournament with them. She had a great time, but came home with an upper respiratory infection that took her out of school for a couple days. She just started track practice every night after school & is really looking forward to getting going with that.

If all of that is not enough, Kaittlin began preparation for the Junior Miss program in January. They meeting once a week on Monday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. One week they met every night to learn their Fitness routine & in a couple weeks they will meet every night of the week to learn their Poise routine. We ordered her Poise dress in January & it arrived. It is at my mom's house being altered. Although Kaittlin is not really a dress girl, I think she is really looking forward to having a princess gown & dressing up for the program. She has also gotten her Talent outfit put together & her music cut, although she has yet to work on her Talent presentation. She will be performing American Sign Language to a song. The Junior Miss girls were able to go to a local photographer to get their group & individual pictures taken last Monday. The pictures were just posted to the photographer's website yesterday. You can view them at

Cassidy has had quite a busy couple months as well. Middle school basketball was in full swing in January & February. Since the cheerleading squad cheers for both girls & boys basketball there were some weeks that she cheered at 3-5 games per week. Thank God they don't travel with the teams...only home games. She also is in the Publications class, which she really enjoys. They publish the school newspaper & the yearbook. Yearbook deadlines are fast approaching, so she has been busy getting her pages completed.

Two weeks ago, during PE class, Cassidy was playing dodge ball with her class. She was running for the balls placed on the half court line of the gym & dropped to her knees to grab one. As she did so, her face collided with the knee of another student approaching from the other direction. A doctor's appointment & facial CT later we found that she had shattered all of the bones in her nose. She did this on a Thursday & we had to wait until the next Monday for some of the swelling to subside to see a Ear Nose & Throat Specialist. He scheduled surgery for the next day, Tuesday, as he needed to reset her septum & the nasal bones on both sides of her nose. The surgery went well & then she went to stay with my mom & dad for a few days while she was on the prescription pain medication so that she could be monitored...she was hysterically funny on the paid meds...more entertaining than TV! :) A week later the packing was taken out of her nose & the cast off the outside & her nose is straight again & she is having no problems breathing, so that is a good thing.

Ike started out the new year between sports. Idaho club wrestling & middle school wrestling ended in the beginning of December. He decided that he would like to try to wrestling the Washington club wrestling season, which started at the end of February. He affiliated with a club in Potlatch which does the wrestling season & goes over there 1 or 2 times a week to practice. He is having a good time with their team & learning a lot. Last weekend was the first Washington tournament, we went to Mead High School in north Spokane. There were 900 wrestlers there, but it was very organized & moved right along. We had to be there for weigh-ins at 7:00 am & wrestling started at 10am. They were done & starting to hand out medals at 4:45 pm! Ike took 2nd place in his age division & weight class & brought home a sweet medal! He has 4 or 5 more tournaments & 1 or 2 freestyle tournaments in the area that he can attend. He just got signed up for baseball for the spring & if it stops snowing I suspect we will have draft in a couple weeks.

As you can see it has been a busy couple months. We invite any of our friends & relatives to join us for Junior Miss which will be held at 7pm the evenings of Friday, April 17 & Saturday, April 18. Tickets are $5 at the door or you can contact Kaittlin to arrange to pre-buy your tickets so you don't have to buy them that night. We would love to have you.