FHE Fun

One of my favorite things about the Church is the emphasis we place on families. Every Monday night (or whenever it fits into our schedule), we are are encouraged to spend time together for a lesson or just to have fun.

Hadley recently complained that we never do anything *she* wants to do so I figured FHE would be a great place to be more intentional with our activities and let each individual shine.

For Hadley, we did art.

For Bode, we had a fitness/nutrition night.

For me, we’ll hike.

For Jamie, he will probably make us haul rocks in the backyard.

Some shining is more brilliant than others.

Hadley’s paint and canvas are really expensive and I didn’t want to waste them so the rest of us used some old, cheap paint and ripped up a cardboard box for our masterpieces. Hadley chose a fairly easy design for us to follow and I was actually really impressed with her patience as she taught us. 

Can you figure out who drew what?

 

Hadley: Top left.

Bode: Top right

Me: Bottom left

Jamie: Went rogue and did his own thing. WHATTHECRAP? We’ve been married 15 years and though I knew he took some painting classes when he was younger, I had no idea he was so talented. If he can do that on a crappy piece of cardboard with old paint brushes, what can he do with good materials?

Bode and I were disasters which is OK because we have other talents (repeat 100X).

I mentioned that Bode has recently become dedicated to exercising several times a week and eating better.  We launched a no-sugar challenge as a family and for his FHE, we made a meal plan and then spent the night reading nutrition labels at the store.

The previous week, he downed an entire box of Ritz crackers and as he was reading the label at the store, he asked, “how much is 24 x 80?” When we joked ore calories and fat than he wanted to know, he defended himself: “Hey, I’m not proud of my past.”

 

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In memorial on a hill

I have had so many emotions since my Mom’s death. My dad asked me to give the eulogy which has resulted in lots of laughter and tears as the wonderful tributes from her family and friends have poured in. On the final night she was alive, she quietly told my brother, “I want to go home.”

The spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. -Alma 40:11-12

Today, I will participate in the sacred practice of dressing her in her temple clothes, a family viewing tonight, followed by her graveside service tomorrow.

I didn’t leave the house on the day she died but the next afternoon, I rode my bike to the top of Memorial Hill in the middle of our mountain hamlet. The site is dedicated to those from our valley who have served in any United States military conflict and it is a place we hold sacred. I was mercifully alone (it’s a popular destination) and I plopped myself down on the grass in front of the “Final Salute” bronze statue of a soldier’s boots, gun and helmet as I looked out over the valley. I talked to her, REALLY talked to her, something I haven’t been able to do since the illness took over a few years ago. I told her I missed her. That I was sorry for her suffering but that she was finally free. That her teenage grandchildren really need her help and even on the other side, I knew she would be in a position to call upon other ministering angels from our family to guide, comfort and inspire. I know this because I have felt her mom and dad–my Grandma and Grandpa Wilde–protecting me during some of my most vulnerable times.
As I sat in silence overlooking our view, a light breeze rolled through the valley, rustling the dog tags hanging from the statue. They read: “To all in God’s Grace. Never Forgotten.” 
For the first time, I noticed a bell attached to the front of one of the boots. How peculiar, I thought, and I reached over to ring it, chuckling with surprise that it actually worked as I remembered Jamie’s favorite movie, It’s A Wonderful Life:  “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”
She was there with me on that hilltop and it was a tender moment as it was confirmed that she would be looking out for me and our family…and that I could go to this special place whenever we needed to talk and that she would never be far away.

Christine Ririe Borowski

A lot of people associate me with being the writer in the family but I love the sweet and funny tribute my dad wrote about my mom.

BOROWSKI, Christine Ririe
July 12, 1944 – April 30, 2019

Christine Ririe Borowski passed away on April 30, 2019 at the age of 74. Despite being a life-of-the-party type of person, at her request there will not be a funeral service or public viewing (she didn’t want people staring at her), only a graveside service. Her request for no obituary is being overlooked (maybe at great peril).

Christine Wilde was born in Magrath, Alberta on July 12, 1944, the first daughter to Wallace and Virginia Wilde. Two more daughters, Miriam and Susan, came along later to complete the family. Many of her fondest memories were of living on a farm a few miles outside of Raymond, Alberta where she enjoyed growing up with her ‘Wilde’ cousins who lived half a mile down the lane. The family moved to the bright lights of Raymond when she was around Grade 8.

Chris attended Rick’s College in Rexburg, Idaho for a year and then moved on to the larger social scene at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Age 22 found her in Calgary, working for an insurance company. Chris enjoyed curling and her roommate Francis invited her to join a Catholic youth curling league. Well, the ‘Mormon’ girl ended up on Stan Borowski’s curling team which led to dating, a proposal and finally marriage on July 8, 1967. A honeymoon to Hawaii started their married life.

Chris was a stay-at-home mom for Patrick, Amber and Jade. While the kids were growing up, she demoed food products at the grocery stores on weekends and Friday nights. She smiled at the masses and handed out food samples. And then there was the “route.”  She worked tirelessly delivering The Bargain Finder newspaper every week, lugging those bundles of newspapers into her gold Mini Cooper and out to the businesses. She always wanted her kids to have a few extras. She sewed, cooked, camped, did crafts, church callings and set an example of a woman who was talented and devoted to her family and was a hard worker. It was in her genes.

As the kids grew older, a new adventure awaited her. Chris and her friend, Lin Snowdon, launched ‘The Old Curiosity Shoppe’ in Glenmore Landing. This popular and beloved tea room was to be her passion for the next 12 years. Following the shop’s closure, Chris and Lin ran a wedding decorating/catering business for a few years.

Family vacation time usually took them to British Columbia and the western United States in the Nomad travel trailer. Later in life, the trips were mostly to New Jersey and Colorado to visit her children.

Chris was diagnosed with MS while in her 30s, but that didn’t slow her down much until the last 5 years of her life. She had an outgoing and fun personality and was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Chris was a collector. People who knew her would recall her passion for baskets (100+) and hats (100+), several closets full of clothes, many, many shoes and an impressive collection of rings and jewelery as well as many hat boxes. The few times they had a garage sale, Stan was instructed not to sell any of her stuff. So, Stan has been quietly taking trips to Goodwill as well as being a regular contributor to charities collecting used clothes.

Chris liked buying “brand name” clothes but didn’t particularly like paying “brand name” prices. This led her to roam around places like Winners and TJ Maxx.

Christine is survived by her devoted husband of 50 years, Stan; sister, Susan; her children. Patrick (Jane), Amber (Jamie) and Jade (Jen) as well as 6 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

A Graveside Service will be held at Okotoks Cemetery on Friday May 10 at 11:00 a.m. Please meet at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Willow Park Chapel (940 Acadia Drive, Calgary) Procession will depart at 10:30 a.m.

Messages of condolence may be forwarded to the family at www.piersons.ca.

“Maman”

My beautiful mom passed away on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

For those who knew and loved her, she was a hilarious spitfire who could cook, craft and create anything. She was an entrepreneur who built a charming restaurant/gift shop, and was renowned throughout Calgary for catering huge parties and her larger-than-life personality. When Jamie asked my dad for my hand in marriage, she interjected in her typical Christine way, “YOU CAN HAVE HER.” (It was, after all, very difficult to have an unmarried 30-year-old Mormon daughter).

I was around my kids’ age when she was diagnosed with MS and she spent more than half of her life with a crippling disease that slowly stripped her of her every gift and passion. It has been a slow, painful death and I’m so grateful my dad, brothers and their families have been her selfless caretakers. She passed away in her sleep at home–a tender mercy after so many years of suffering. My sadness is trumped by the peace that she is finally free of pain.

I have no doubt in addition to some joyous reunions with her parents, sister and best friend, she is having a blast raising a ruckus on the other side in her unforgettable way. She is, after all, a Wilde.

Youth Conference at Bryce Canyon!

Having a mom who is the Camp Director in your Young Women’s organization is a double-edge sword. Or maybe it’s just edges at every angle if you ask Hadley. :-) I was recently called upon to be one of the leaders for our ward Youth Retreat for teens ages 14+ in Bryce Canyon National Park.

It has been several years since I’ve been in Bryce Canyon, the last time with my friend Kristy when we participated in a biathlon through Utah Winter Games (a hilarious read if you have a moment). The canyon is perched at about 8,500 feet, which makes it a fantastic winter destination. However, our visit was mid-March so we weren’t sure just how much winter we would get and how much mud.

The outdoor rink had recently closed down but other than that, it was a winter wonderland! We stayed at the Best Western Ruby’s Inn, which is the the ultimate family-friendly property with a huge restaurant, general store, swimming pool, and loads of activities. I would love to go back with our boys and a big group of friends.

We played lots of fun games and had inspiring youth battalion devotionals in our conference room, swam, and hiked to the rim of the canyon.

On the last day, I was put in charge of cross-country skiing. The area is famous for its glorious network of Nordic trails but we were at the very end of the season so we didn’t know what would be opened, much less groomed. Miraculously, we found the most amazing 5K loop that took us right out to the rim of Bryce Canyon that been groomed for the final time of the season. Many of the teens had never been Nordic skiing and they ROCKED it. And I’m salivating to go back there with Bode to ski. It was just that good.

Hadley and I returned home after 48 hours of inspired adventures to our boys…who skied, ate fast-food for every meal (yet somehow didn’t clean a single dish even though they’re disposable) and the worst trespass of all: Bode’s introduction to the movie “Dumb and Dumber.”

Apparently they can’t be left along for even one weekend without adult supervision.

Winter 2019 is a wrap!

I was supposed to publish this on March 20 but never finished it and hit publish. How quickly this month passed!

How did winter 2019 slip by so fast? We have had a lot of stress with my mom’s health the last few months (and my passport problems added to the panic in case I needed to get home) but after an extended stay in the hospital, she is home for now.

But we’ll focus on the fun parts of Winter 2019 because there were plenty in one of my snowiest winters since I have lived in the U.S.

Snow. So much glorious snow. Oh, wait. I already mentioned that. I truly can’t remember enjoying myself so much in years. We’ve had almost constant snow since Christmas which is pretty funny because very few people around town have taken down their outdoor Christmas decorations and it’s totally OK (edited to note: they finally came down April 17). We haven’t had very many huge snowfalls but rather, just nice and consistent almost every week. After two grueling years of landscaping our yard (and we’re still not finished), we had a great winter where we were finally able to play with lots of snow days.

Jamie, Hadley and I went to the Midway Ice Castles preview party. Translucent blue, green and red sculpted waves danced on the walls, showcasing our very own aurora borealis…without the Arctic temps. 

That night was a win for all except for Bode who winter cabin camping with the Scouts.

Luckily for Bode, he got really sick the following month when they did their winter cave camping trip. He wasn’t disappointed to miss it.

DOWNHILL SKI

Lots and lots of ski days. Bode is totally rocking the slopes, Hadley is still struggling with PTSD, Jamie is skiing stronger than ever and I’m getting worse in my old age and am the slowest of all. But we still love it!

Day date!

I only had one girl’s day this year but it was memorable. As we were driving to Park City, I realized my ski boots were SOAKING wet on the inside, which was particularly suspect because I hadn’t skied in over a week. My girls Rachel and Julie to the rescue! I went through an entire roll of paper towels trying to soak up the moisture during the drive and in a stroke of brilliance, we picked up plastic bags that I wore as booties to keep my feet dry.

Girl’s day with Rachel and Julie

Redneck ski boots.

On Saturday, we did a Couple’s Day Out with Jamie’s college friends, Jim and Lindsay. First and last on the slopes, zero drama/whining, gorgeous conditions and a leisurely 1.5-hour Legends burger lunch. That day was a rare glimpse at the fun side of adulting.

NORDIC SKI

Bode and I Nordic skied twice a week after school at Soldier Hollow. This will likely be our third and final year of Kickers and Gliders ski program because he wants to try their DEVO ski team this summer and next winter. The first year we did the program, it was epic because of the incredible snow. Last year was horrible due to the lack of slow and the man-made 5K icy track we looped over and over again. But Bode didn’t mind. Whenever it did snow, the groomers made these huge piles of snow to later distribute that the kids called “snow whales.” They looooved racing down their steep slopes.

This year, Bode got bumped up to the advanced class while I happily stayed back with the intermediates who, by the end of the season, were skiing some pretty crazy stuff. I love the uphill and flats on Nordic skis but if you’ve ever attempted the downhill, you know the terror I’m talking about with no edges and the inability to turn. Regardless, it was fun seeing Bode fall in love with cross-country skiing as well.

Hula hoop obstacle course racing

He did DEVO “tryouts” last week where they could try out the team and I saw his competitive edge kick in as he raced to the top and came in second.

For the first time in his life, he is actually trying to get into shape and goes on the elliptical in the basement…except for when there are spider webs because THAT, my friends is a deal-breaker. I hope he enjoys their summer training program!

Hadley and Jamie, on the other hand, hate cross-country skiing. We planned to ski on my birthday but it was brutally cold that Wednesday morning and I was told the ski crowds would be bad. I let Hadley skip her state testing that day and she promised to do anything I wanted…so she made me crepes for breakfast and we went cross country skiing at the golf course at Wasatch Mountain State Park for the first time. Hadley hated every minute of it but bless her heart, she tried to be *kind* of positive because it was my birthday. Jamie didn’t even bother coming. :-)

The Duck Whisperer

I went back a few days without her and discovered a secret network of trails that climbed for miles and miles in the foothills. I went about a half hour before reluctantly turning around because 1) remember how I’m not great at the downhill and I didn’t want to get stranded? and 2) due to the high snow levels, we have had a lot of cougar and moose in the valley and I didn’t want to get attacked. I’m already chomping at the bit just thinking about exploring this next year:

SNOWSHOEING

During our first winter in Midway, I organized a memorable couple’s full moon snowshoe night. We skipped last year due to abysmal snow but this year, we reintroduced Soup ‘n Snowshoes with these crazies under a full moon, followed by wart removal New Year’s resolutions, and late-night game night with leg wrestling champions, pumpkin-orange diarrhea and the very salacious Song of Solomon. #WhyParentsShouldn’tStayUpLate 

And of course, there was our memorable Valentine’s Day overnight yurt retreat!

I had quite a few fun outings with friends, none of each involved plastic bag booties.

Big Springs

Wasatch Mountain State Park

 

North Fork in the Uintas

2) Jamie’s parents are celebrating their 50th anniversary later this month and that will be a different post unto itself.  Last weekend, we drove 45 minutes to the Art City Trolley because Jamie was craving the best wings ever. Little did I know that just two doors down was the home his parents rented the first four years of his life: 107 Main Street, Springville. For being so young, he remembered quite a bit. Winning a fish at a competition at the church across the street. Burying the fish in the backyard. Visiting the lady next door who ran a headstone company (it’s still there) who would give him hard candies. The huge lot across the street where his dad would garden (it’s now a 7-11). Progress, folks!

Now, let’s hear it for our rainy and snowy spring after our glorious winter!

Overnight welcome to puberty

When you live with someone, you don’t always notice big or small changes right away. Hadley’s entrance to puberty has been fairly gradual (despite shooting up the summer before fifth grade and being a foot taller than everyone).

Almost overnight, I started getting a lot of comments about Bode.

“Have you noticed his voice has dropped?”

“He lost his baby fat on his face and he grew two inches!”

And my favorite from his piano teacher:

“Oh my gosh! Your little boy’s voice is dropping lower and his cute cheeks are hollowing out–he’s entering testoterone-land. He’s going to be a handsome man.”

And then I tuned in that they were right! That boy of mine is entering teen-dom.

He’s still really easy-going and sweet but there is definitely the occasional dose of moodiness. He has taken more care in his appearance and actually started styling his hair this year. For the first time in his life, he’s interested in eating healthier and has put himself on a fitness regimen by running on the elliptical for a mile every day as he tries to get in great shape for soccer and summer ski season. WHAT?!

I can find awesome brand-name clothes at a thrift shop in Provo and have always done his shopping for him because he just hasn’t cared…until last week when I came home with a haul of clothes and he said he wanted to come with me from now on to pick them out. Fortunately, there was only one shirt he didn’t like, which is a far cry from Hadley who hates 95% of what I buy for her…and that is why I don’t shop for her anymore. He hasn’t surpassed me in height–yet– but the countdown is on.

Last week, he was really tired and a bit grumpy racing out the door in the morning. I soon realized he forgot his lunch so I drove to meet him at the bus stop. He sheepishly and affectionately thanked me, grabbed his lunch and I caught a glimpse of my little boy as my teenager walked to the bus.

These are tough years for mamas but what a wonderful young man he is becoming.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Dear overachieving leprechaun-pranking parents. If you think it’s cute now, I have a cautionary tale. I thought my St. Patty’s Day antics were over now that the kids are teens but I learned otherwise last year when I did nothing and was met with much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

After the kids delightfully explored our overturned Emerald City this morning, I hesitatingly asked if I would have to keep doing this even when they are 40 and Hadley said, “Wherever we are living in the world, YOU WILL DELIVER LEPRECHAUN PRANKS.”

A glimpse at my new job

The past few days have been a whirlwind with training, meetings and more training.

This morning, we had a last-minute, hour-long interview on NPR’s The Mountain Life” with Lynn Ware Peek and Tim Henney, a staff meeting, a lunch where we met with all of CONNECT’s board members, and more training that afternoon.

I’m exhausted, overloaded with information and loving that my life has taken on a new direction and purpose. 

If you’d like to learn more about my organization, I posted the link to our interview on social media today:

Pro tip when your CONNECT Summit County team gets tapped to appear on KPCW Radio’s Winter Pledge Drive: Make sure when you’re introduced as being Day 3 on the job you interject with “ASK ME ANYTHING” to ensure they don’t.

(Around the 3:30 mark).

kpcw.org/post/mountain-life-winter-pledge-drive-connect-summit-county

Hasta la Vista BYU!

Today is the first day of my new life!

I recently put in my two-week notice at BYU and accepted a position with a non-profit in Park City dedicated to providing resources and eliminating stigma related to mental health, something I have grown very passionate about in recent years.

I have been casually looking for a new position for a few months but was not willing to take the leap unless it was a good fit. My industry is sadly one I don’t really recognize or even like anymore. Gone are the days of creativity and vulnerability. Now, it’s all about who has the prettiest pictures on Instagram, the best analytics and digital marketing. And forget about being paid a decent wage because it just isn’t happening.

Last month, my friend Sheri posted a job position at her non-profit that was for only 15 hours/week with minimal pay. I had a friend who was looking for a job so DMed Sheri for details and she mentioned they would also be hiring a Communications Manager for 15 hours/week. Again, not enough hours or pay but I told her if they managed to combine the two position for 30 hours/week, I might be interested if they could also up the pay. It’s a non-profit so I knew the pay wouldn’t be great but I needed to earn more than minimum wage, y’know?

Well, Sheri moved heaven and earth with the board to meet my requests and I’m thrilled to start training this afternoon. The best news of all is I’ll be working from HOME with frequent runs to Park City for meetings and events. Plus, I adore Park City and plan to sneak in a hike or bike ride every chance I can get.

While I was interviewing with Sheri, two other job opportunities arose–one that was full-time at a non-profit affiliated with my current company and the other was for a friend. In the end, the one I took was the best fit for my family and what I’m most excited about.

But can we talk about BYU?  I truly thought I was at the point in my career where I would enjoy giving back and mentoring students which I did…but academia was just not a good fit and is better suited for someone who prefers a safe, stable, unchanging environment.

Things that I’ll miss:

  • My students. I left two student writers, Grace and Jane, students assistants and an awesome team of students who worked with me in design, web development and video.
  • The staff. Truly, some of the best people and so darn kind.
  • Overhauling our alumni magazine. I learned I prefer writing to editing so serving as editor was a bit of a stretch but I loved being a part of building a magazine from the initial conception to writing to design to publication.

OK, long pause as I try to think of some other things I’ll miss but I can’t at this time, which is a sign that it was time to leave.

Things that I won’t miss:

  • The commute. 1.5 hours/day down Provo Canyon which was often perilous this winter.
  • Utah County. I love living in the mountains and I did not like driving to suburbia every day with its traffic, franchises and inversion. Plus, the Utah County bubble is real and while most people are lovely, there is also a lot of close-mindedness.
  • My position. Overall, my job was a daily frustration with zero creativity. In the beginning, I tried to innovate but was shut down so often that I stopped fighting it and just did what the job required of me…nothing more. The crazy thing is I received RAVE reviews about what a great job I was doing. If only they had let me do what I do best.

I could go on but I’ll stop there. The Dean’s Office staff threw me a lovely going-away party and it was sad for a minute..until I remembered I’ll be home a lot more for my family, can schedule my workouts whenever I want and yoga pants are my new daily uniform.

Bring it on!

This picture is one of my favorites ever of Bode. We were exploring in Evergreen while Hadley was at a birthday party and this was a moment of sheer joy, how I’m feeling right now.