Saturday, August 31, 2013

My First Test in a While Didn't Go So Well

As a responsible citizen, I determined my licensed children and I should get our Motorcycle permits so we could be legal when driving the Vespa.

Of course I have no intention of driving the Vespa farther than a 4-block radius. But...

This required us to take a written test. Which required A LOT of study because according to the DMV, motorcycles are motorcycles whether they're Harleys or Vespa Scooters so we not only had to understand road rules, but also particulars about driving a motorcycle, which I haven't done since my cousins tried to teach me 30 years ago when I was 12. That resulted in me crashing into their neighbor's fence and we all ran away and didn't tell a soul.

Courtney and I studied and took lots of online practice tests and then set an appointment at the DMV and waited for an hour or more to register and take the test. We passed!  We also had to give up our hard-copy licenses for the paper permit. Which we carried during all our travels this summer and confused many a TSA Agent. (Although always ended up passing security without incident.)

A few weeks later Marty glanced at the book while getting his Driver's License on his 16th birthday, asked if he could take the test as well and passed too.  That kid and his brain!

We had to have our permits for two months before we could take the motorcycle driving test. We were allowed to drive the Vespa during that time for practice. However, by the time we called to make our appointments for the driving test, the next available was after Courtney left to college. So she had to spend another 2 hours down at the DMV waiting in line to have the permit removed from her license and get her real license back.

Mine and Marty's driving test was Friday. This required me to drive the Vespa all the way down to the DMV. I chose a less trafficked route and actually was enjoying myself. I gave myself more than enough time to get there so I wasn't stressed and did a pretty good job.  I'd practiced previously around the neighborhood and in the church parking lot and felt very comfortable giving Nick rides.

But I FAILED the test. I couldn't zip between cones or U-turn in the small allowance and once I put my foot down when I felt unbalanced. I failed before I'd completed even half the test.

Marty practiced for 10 minutes the night before and ended up passing easily.

I have registered for a second attempt in a couple of weeks. I'm not happy about the long drive down there again. I don't really want to be a quitter so I'll give it another try. DREAD!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sharing and Caring

My first U Dub Magazine arrived today. Makes me feel connected, and I like that.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Piece of Me

The day after I got home from Seattle, I tried to stay busy all day. A little piece of me had been cut off and missing Courtney was a physical pain that made it literally hard to breathe. I felt a little raw and staying busy was a good distraction.

Signs of Courtney!
You know what part of me wanted to do? Call my mom and cry.  I almost did. But Nick was home and sulking wouldn't help so we made a fun plan instead.

I took Nick and two of his friends (who hadn't started school yet either) to Airborne. They jumped for an hour while I surfed Houzz looking at remodel ideas. We had planned to stay for 2 hours, but they weren't quite tall enough for the obstacle course section so were a tad disappointed and ready to go. 

On the way I saw Scheels -- a massive sporting goods store that I'd heard actually had fun activities inside in addition to retail sales.  We spent the next two hours exploring the store and having fun -- an indoor ferris wheel, mini-bowling, putting hole and a gun arcade!

Learning to use SnapChat so I can have fun with Courtney over social media!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It Was Hard

This is so beautiful to me. Courtney walking into her new life.
I was so glad I could spend another day with Courtney in Seattle helping her get what she needed and get settled. To leave her with a pile of stuff, rushing out the door would have left me feeling incomplete.

It was good we had the extra time because we used every second.

Sunday night after Courtney's dorm meeting, we went out to a late dinner at a burger place in a shopping center near campus. At that shopping center we saw: Jamba Juice, Storables (storage solutions for every need), the Grocery Store and Office Depot all right next door to each other. So, great. We had everything we needed for Monday morning all right by campus.

We started at the grocery store to get Courtney's must-need snacks: Mainly pretzels and cream cheese. A few protein bars. Greek yogurt and cereal for breakfast. 

Next to Jamba Juice for Strawberry Whirl for me and Mango a Go-Go for Courtney.

Then spent a lot of time in Storables which had everything she needed for organizing her dorm. (Desk organizers, bulletin boards, magnetic strips, clip-on lamp, a million 3MTM Command!TM removable adhesive hooks etc. And a lot of things that I wished I could bring home with me. (Courtney talked me into Popsicle makers in squeeze-tubes. Said we HAD to have it for home. (Boys were excited!))

Office Depot for the school-work basics.

We went back to the mall to return some things from the previous day and buy expensive moisturizer for the last time before Courtney has to purchase it on her own dime. 

And then we were done.

When we got back to her dorm, we wondered if I should just wait in the car while she carried stuff up since all the other parents were gone. I waited while she took one load up and saw SEVERAL moms and dads and families still going in and out of the building. So I was going in.

Chen, Courtney's roommate had an international student activity all day which turned out perfect because I could go up to Courtney's room with her and help her get organized. We had fun finding a home for everything and hanging her 3MTM Command!TM removable adhesive hooks in the right places to hang her bulletin boards and decorations, belts and basically anything under the sun you could possibly want to hang.  We kept very, very busy. And then it was 3:00.

I have to go, I said.

I know, she said.

I gathered my purse and packed up some things she didn't need in my bag and made sure my phone was in the right pocket and that I had my rental car keys and my wallet with my ID in it and anything else I could possibly thing of that needed being done and could delay the moment just a minute longer. Or a second. Or anything.

Then I gave her a hug and told her I loved her and I was proud of her and we both hugged and cried. And I feel like I got to say the things I wanted to say. Which I really can't remember now but I had thought a lot about before. And it was really hard. And how do you say, "Ok" and walk out the door on your daughter?

I swung the door open and there was a girl standing right there waiting for someone next door, and so I shut the door quickly and didn't walk out (because I was still wiping tears) and Courtney and I laughed because it was kind of embarrassing. And really being able to laugh and diffuse was a little tender mercy.

So I wiped my face a bit better and composed myself and then I really did walk out the door. And there was a girl at the elevator, so I said, "How do I look? Did my mascara smear?" And she said, "Did you just say goodbye to a student? You look great! No smeared mascara!" And it made me feel better to know there are nice kids there.

And you know what else? I felt great. I felt so excited for Courtney! 

I also wondered if I wasn't marveling at myself for doing something hard. When Courtney was born I was so thrilled with my new little baby. But I was also thrilled at myself for birthing a baby. And I think we've got it on video of me saying, "I did it! I can't believe I did it!" 

So, part of me was proud of myself for saying goodbye and surviving. ("I did it! I can't believe I did it!")  And also at raising such a beautiful daughter. "She's mine. That gorgeous, talented, beautiful, funny, smart kind girl is MY daughter! How did I get so lucky?" 

But I also felt peaceful. The comfort of the Spirit. Assuring me she's going to be just fine.

She's going to have the time of her life. I know I did.

I wouldn't trade the homesickness and the loneliness and all the fun times and the crazy roommates and lifelong friend roommates and being poor and working hard and being bored and going to football games and having crushes, and having boys like me, and being rejected and being in love and staying up late and being surrounded by students, and meeting mentors, and trying new sports and teaching new things to friends, and not knowing where to turn, and figuring things out, and having fascinating classes in areas I loved, and interesting classes in areas I didn't know I liked, and gaining a testimony and gaining faith and questioning who I was and becoming who I wanted to be. 

They are wonderful years. I love you, Court.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Airport Connections

After the boys left, Courtney and I dashed to Target and 
Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy everything needed to make a dorm a home.

While there we got a call from Dan. 
Here's the story:

They boys were waiting for their flight in the Delta Club. 
Christopher was wearing his Rugby shirt. 
A woman (who Dan described to me as, "Really outgoing -- like your mom!" 
approached Chris and asked him if he played rugby and said 
she loved rugby and her son plays rugby. In fact, he's trying out for the Olympic team. 
So Dan mentioned our cool nephew who was also a star rugby player 
and I'm sure he mentioned cool things like, "New Zealand" and "US Nationals" etc.

So Dan and the lady bonded. And then he mentioned 
he'd just dropped off his daughter at UDub.
She said, "I'm a UDub alumni! What's she studying?"
He said, "Mechanical Engineering."
She said, "I'm on the board of the UDub 
Mechanical Engineering Department something and something!!!"

When the woman found out Courtney was a direct admit, she was very excited and said, 
"She was one of only 18 direct-admits -- only 6 of whom are girls (women)!!"

(Courtney, You're Awesome!)

She gave Dan her business card. 
(She is the President of (or started) an Aerospace company(!)) 
Then proceeded to tell Dan, "Have her call me! 
I'll be her home away from home! I'd love to meet her!!"


And all that happened in the Delta Club at the airport 
because Christopher was wearing his Rugby shirt.

This is the Day They Said Goodbye

Saturday morning we walked over to Pike Place to get donuts, pastries and fruit for breakfast. 
Where, or where, can I find a place like this wonderful in Utah?

While purchasing pastries at Pike Place (presumably picking particular platter-sized donuts),
Courtney and I spotted Target. Right there. 
Which was the first stop on the list of the day after Pikes Place. 
(And Pastries.)

So we sauntered our silly selves slowly... 
(Seriously, I think my brain is subconsciously using alliteration 
to slow me down and focus on something else 
so I don't have to relive this sad, sad goodbye tale!)

We trotted to Target... 
(it's seriously just coming to my mind. I'm not even trying!!)

We went to Target to buy hangers 
(and got distracted at cosmetics) 
and the boys bought food and went back to the hotel to eat.

The point of needing hangers before anything else was because 
we needed to unpack all of Courtney's clothes and get them on hangers 
so the boys could take the luggage back with them. 
I was staying an extra day and 3 extra-large bags 
were too much for me to take 
(you know me, I'm a carry-on-only kind of packer).

Also, we had to hurry and eat breakfast because our next stop after Target 
was Blue C Sushi because it's too fun to miss. 
So exactly 1 hour after we finished breakfast, 
we sat down to eat lunch at Blue C. I am not kidding. 
It was that important to some little people. 
And it wasn't the kind of day for saying no.

Finally it was 1:30 and time for check-in. 
There was an hour wait for carts to pile dorm-moving in luggage in, 
but fortunately we had all 6 of us to each carry a bag (or two). 
Which we did and bypassed the cart line.  

Chen, Courtney's roommate hadn't arrived yet, so we felt comfortable 
hanging out in the room. Soon, however, we discovered we were short 
on hangers. So Dan took the boys up to Target 
to buy more while Courtney and I continued unpacking.

By the time they were back with the hangers, there were only a few 
minutes left before they had to say goodbye. 

Dan did the quick "I'm not going to cry in front of my daughter" 
or "quick pull of the band-aid" goodbye -- a strong hug 
then moved away quickly to usher the boys in to give their goodbye's.

Nick gave a good hug and then turned quickly away. 
He said a pretty jovial sounding, "goodbye, Courtney."
And had said many times, "she's coming home for every Thanksgiving and Christmas" 
so I think he believed because he was seeing her again "goodbye" was okay. 

It reminded me a lot of when Courtney (also in third grade at the time) 
said goodbye to her friends in California when we moved to Utah. 
She was sad but excited to see what moving brought. 
It wasn't until we went back and visited a few months later 
that she realized how much she missed everyone there and cried her eyes out. 

Marty was misty-eyed as he said goodbye and talked a lot -- 
I think so he wouldn't stop talking and start crying instead.

Christopher's face and sorrowful eyes were absolutely heartbreaking. 
He looked so forlorn as he waited his turn to give Courtney a hug. 
I've never seen emotion so raw and so heartsick. 
He gave her a hug and started to cry and Courtney started to cry. 
And then they had to walk out the door and leave.

I hugged Courtney as she cried. And I cried. 
And then she was almost recovered until she remembered she'd forgotten 
to take a photo of everyone together one last time.  Just then, I heard 
their voices on the sidewalk below and offered to call them back up. 
Courtney protested so I just popped my head out the window 
and shouted another hello and goodbye. Oh dear. 
Christopher looked up and looked like his heart was breaking all over again.  

Dan texted a few minutes later and said there were a lot of 
sniffles coming from the back seat on the way to the airport.

There is a dad and three brothers who really love their Courtney and are going to miss her.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Seattle Mariners

We love going to MLB games so were thrilled when we saw 
the Mariners were playing at home the weekend we were in Seattle.

Lunch in the airport. Shaeffer kids all in a row...

Our hotel was right on the water only a mile from the stadium. 
Because the stadium is in the city with everyone out and about, 
a mile doesn't seem very long.  
Especially since we became such great walkers this summer.  

We stopped for crab along the way. This family loves crab.

See Nick holding Courtney's hand? So sweet.

The weather was perfect, even a little cool. Forgot it gets cool on the water. 

After getting back to the hotel when everyone was ready for bed we...

Yep. We watched Psych. All in bed together. This family loves Psych.

Friday, August 23, 2013

18 Years Ago We Went to a Concert

A favorite band was coming to town (.fun) so Dan and I bought tickets
and then we bought 2 more thinking Courtney would like to go too and invite a friend. 
And then we realized that the concert
was the night before we would leave to take Courtney to school.

Courtney invited Lexie which was perfect
because she was part of the family for so long.
And neither Lexie nor Courtney have any qualms hanging out with parents.

The clincher is the night before Courtney was born,
Dan and I went to the Deep Blue Something concert in Fort Worth, Texas.
(Of the song, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" fame).
So I thought it was a pretty good bookend that we were
at another concert with Courtney the night before she headed off to college.

We had just enough time to stop at the taco cart for dinner.

.Fun was at Saltair out on the lawn near the Great Salt Lake.
It was actually a really fun venue -- loved being outside!

They used to be crazy, little girls!!

We sang along and danced and people-watched
and Lexie caught us up on her life
and we tried not to think about saying goodbye.
Although since we had to do it, we had .fun just before we had to do it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Day for Half of 'Em

Marty started high school and Chris started Jr. High today. It felt strange getting up and doing the making breakfast and making lunches routine. It didn't really feel like it could be the first day of school. Especially since Courtney and Nick were sleeping in. And it's only August 21st. A little early.

They both had good days. Chris had no trouble opening his locker and finding his classes and figuring out if he had 1st or 2nd lunch.

Marty found a parking spot, found out he gets to go on tour with Orchestra, and has friends in all his classes.
 They both entered their new schools like it was no big deal. Here we go again!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


We've torn out our old closet shelving and added new wood shelves and drawers. 

We hauled everything out of our garage and down to the back porch while adding new flooring, storage cupboards and workbench, along with a fresh coat of paint.

I have made three trips to DI.

Courtney has boxed up her clothes, shoes and things needed for college. Other special items went in boxes to store here (Let's hope her little brothers don't ransack everything like my sisters did! Ha! Love you guys anyway!) and she has donated, tossed or sold everything else.

We are moving rooms around after she leaves -- Chris to Courtney's big room; Nick to Chris' loft room; and I create an office in Nick's room with a daybed for Courtney when she comes home from college.  So we have gone through books, toys and collections with a fine-tooth comb to toss or donate anything not used anymore.

I was awake at 4:30 a.m. today. Couldn't sleep thinking about all my pictures on my computer that needed to be organized. So got up and started organizing the good and deleting the bad.

It dawned on me that I'm nesting.  Not in anticipation of a new baby, but in anticipation of our changing life. I deal better with everything when I'm organized. Without consciously thinking about it, I've been getting rid of the clutter and putting everything in it's place so when we enter this new phase of Courtney going to college, missing her won't seem so overwhelming.