Thursday, October 9, 2008

September Trip to the Zoo

The middle of September my family had an opportunity to go to the zoo for my dad's company picnic. The timing couldn't have been better because we got a chance to see the newest addition to the zoo: a baby boy elephant named Samudra (Sammy for short)! Here are a few zoo pics for your viewing pleasure...

These are of Samudra. Sorry the pics are a little blurry!!

While we were standing in line (I have to say it was very hot and we were in line for a very long time) this nice lady came up and asked us if we could figure out what it was she was holding. We all took a shot at guessing, but come to find out it was an elephant tooth. Who knew?!!

A cute little porcupine!! He kept trying to make a great escape into the bushes!

All of the penguins were grooming.

This monkey was so funny!! Blake was kneeling down in front of the glass, and the monkey came over and sat right in front of him and starred at him.

The new CAT exhibit.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Various Summer Events

Apparently I'm really behind on my posts, so I guess I'll get to it. I have some pictures of various summer events to share!! Enjoy!

For about as long as we've known Vanessa, she and Beth and I have talked about wanting to take a cake decorating class. Since we don't really have time (or money) to take a real class, we decided to give it a go at home! I think this was around June/July-ish!! We had a lot of fun, and I have to say our cakes turned out beautifully!! Although, I don't think any brides will be hiring us for our cake decorating services anytime soon.

Celebrating Beth's 25th Birthday with a barbeque on the deck!! Mom and Dad were there (I promise), but I couldn't find any pics with them.

The newest Toland family. So cute!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Trip to Long Beach, Washington

Two Saturdays ago, Ryan picked me up and told me we were going somewhere. Our destination, however, was not something I was privy to, so I just went with it. We gassed up, hit the road, and then he told me we could either go up to Mt. Rainier National Forest or to Long Beach. YAY!!! Well it was already 2pm, so Long Beach it is!! I was so excited because we had not been ANYWHERE all summer, despite our good intentions.

The weather was absolutely beautiful, and I thought we had really lucked out. That was until we reached the Astoria bridge and I saw a huge bank of low clouds toward Long Beach. Uh oh!! For those of you who don't know, the Oregon beach is not like California beaches. Our water is cold and most of the time the weather is just as cold and cloudy. I didn't take this into account when we left Vancouver, because it was a clear, sunny, HOT day.

So we got to Long Beach, and it was COLD and WINDY!! We were unprepared (no sweatshirts and Ryan was wearing shorts), so we didn't spend as much time actually on the beach as we would have liked. We did take a few pictures for your viewing pleasure!!





I should also mention that traffic in Long Beach was a bear. Somehow we managed to end up in Long Beach on the same weekend as the "Rod Run". We saw some really awesome cars, and I even managed to get a few pictures. I'll have to post those later on because I don't have access to them right now.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Finally, some results...

Well, I got my results today for my test, and I PASSED!!! I'm officially a Certified Professional Midwife!!! The news was received with much relief, as you can well imagine!! What's next?? Well, now I have to save up some money, so I can get my license. Some money will go to the school (about $600), and a lot (more) will go for my license, in the amount of $1900. Small hurdles, all things considered.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

La(z)bor(y) Day(s)...

I hadn't realized it had been such a long time since I posted! Things have been pretty busy in our neck of the woods. Shall I catch you up?

Last week I made a few functional and cosmetic updates to our blog. You can now enter your email address into the box on the right and new posts from our blog will be automatically delivered right to your email inbox. Pretty cool, huh?!!

Let's see...Ryan had a great first week of school last week. He's feeling really good about his classes, as the homework load for all of them is fairly light. Monday's are his insane days starting at 7am and not ending (with the exception of a 3 hour break from 12pm-3pm)until 12:30am. The rest of his week is light in comparison, and he is just as glad to get his long day out of the way early in the week. Basketball tryouts went fine last week, and they started workouts/practice this week. He's also doing some custodial work at the school, so he's keeping very busy. I have a feeling this semester is going to be over before we know it!

Saturday was spent with the Schoeplein's (Vanessa's family) and our family at mom and dad's house. We gathered to celebrate Blake's 23rd birthday, and had a great time bbq-ing, visiting, and playing a long game of Apples to Apples. The game was quite hysterical, and we all had so much fun!!! Happy Birthday to my baby brother!!

On Sunday I moved out of my friend Amy's house in Vancouver, up to my parent's house in Hockinson. I'll be here for a short time until I'm able to get an apartment with my sister, Beth. I feel so blessed that we all still live in the same area!!

I'm in the process of looking for a job (temporary, not midwifery-related), so I can be saving up for my midwifery license and other things. I'm in that difficult in-between stage of things, being done with school, waiting for my test results, and trying to decide about starting a practice. Pray for me!!!

Yesterday (Labor Day) was more of a lazy day around here. We didn't do much of anything, which was nice. Blake came up for a bit mid-morning (Vanessa has a bit of a cold, so stayed home to rest), and we had a chance to pull out some old family albums! That was fun!! Mid-afernoon we bbq'd some braut's (sp?) and watched a little Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Not my dad's first choice, but the satellite is out, so you just make do with what you've got! Beth went to work, so the rest of us (Dad, Mom, Chloe, Me) watched October Sky.

I haven't done anything else as far as the wedding goes. I'm waiting for a couple of bridal shows that are coming up!! Yay!!

That's all for now!! Praying all is well with everyone!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back to the drawing board

So, we looked at the church today, and we love it for the wedding. It looks, however, like it's not going to be an option for the reception. Bummer. Major Bummer. So, we're back to the drawing board. Stay tuned...

Carrie and I liked Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants on the whole. It was a cute movie. We didn't appreciate so much the message they are sending to young teenage girls and boys that if a boy says he loves you, it's okay to sleep with him. Ugh! Isn't that the story that plays out in Hollywood headlines everyday though? One thing's for sure... it's a fake, empty kind of love that never lasts. Sad.

It's late and I'm tired, so I'll close for now! Here's hoping at least one or two people are reading this blog!! : )

On the other side...

I took my test yesterday, and to be perfectly honest I have NO idea how I did. Ryan says that's a good thing because when I took it last time, I felt really good about it. I should have the results in 2-3 weeks, so we're praying for good news this time.

Today we are headed up to Battle Ground to take a look at the church we're considering for the wedding/reception. I'm really excited to start tackling all things wedding with gusto!!! It's about time, right?!!

After we look at the church, we're meeting up with Carrie & Tim at the movie theater. Carrie & I are going to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and the boys are going to go play video games or something of that nature. A nice relaxing day!

On Saturday, Vanessa's (my sister-in-law) sister Mallory is getting married in the evening!! It will be fun to go to another wedding before the summer is over! And it never hurts to keep your eyes open for good ideas too!!

Ryan's roommate and all of the other students will be moving in today, so he's excited about that! School starts on Monday. Oh, I forgot to mention that Ryan found out he'll be able to continue roofing on Tuesday and Thursday for awhile. Once the rain moves in for the fall/winter, roofing will end. He's also going to do some janitorial work on campus, also a good thing!!! What a busy guy!

Well, that's about the long and the short of it from Vancouver. More soon...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It's So Hot Here

Just to warn you, the events in today's post are not in chronological order.

It's so hot here, and it's supposed to be even hotter tomorrow!!! All I can think about is how glad I am that we're supposed to have cooler weather starting next week. I'm pretty sure we're in the triple digits right now, or at the very least close to it. Ugh!!! I don't know how I survived five months in the Philippines!!! It's much hotter and more humid there than it is here!

I really shouldn't be complaining. Ryan and his crew have been up on the roof working in the heat all week! He's completely exhausted at the end of the day, but doesn't seem to mind it all that much. He works so very hard and I'm proud of him!!

On Monday, Ryan moved out of his summer apartment (seminary housing on campus) and into his dorm. Yep, he's living in the dorms this year. Have I already mentioned that bit of info? I can't remember. Anyway, his roommate will be moving in a couple of weeks from now, so he's got the room all to himself for the time being! He also went to the bookstore to the books he'll need for the semester. I guess it's about that time!

Which reminds me...Ryan had to mention today that my test is coming up in less than a week. Eek!!! I'm feeling good about the whole thing. I've been really dedicated to studying everyday to freshen up my memory. It's been nearly a year since I've been to any births, so my brain was a little rusty when I cracked open my books for the first time in awhile.

I'm so excited to get back into all things midwifery!! My friend and classmate, Ondra, and I are in serious talks about starting a practice together. We're ready to take the plunge, so we'll see what happens.

My family left for a little R&R/camping at Silver Falls in Oregon starting on Sunday. Ryan and I weren't able to go because of work and studying, but that's okay. I did have an opportunity to join Mom, Dad, and Chloe for Tuesday night/Wednesday, so I grabbed it. The weather was incredibly beautiful, and we really enjoyed reading around our campfire and roasting hotdogs and smores.

Beth, Blake, and Vanessa are vacationing at Flathead Lake in Montana with our cousin Brooke and her family! I'm sure they're having a blast and taking lots of pictures!!! Hopefully we'll all get to go next summer!!!

Just a quick wedding update: We're 288 days away!!!

Bye for now!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

August Adventures

Sorry for the long delay! Not a whole lot on the wedding planning front has developed since my last post, but I thought I'd catch up with the other things happening in our lives.

I'm currently in the thick of studying for my NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) certification exam coming up in a little over two weeks on August 20th. I've been down this road once before (this past February), but found out in March that I didn't pass and that I would have the distinct privilege of taking it over again. How exciting!!! : ( Anyway, I'm ready to take it again, and praying for a better result! If you think of it breathe a prayer for me!!!

Ryan has kept quite busy this summer working for a commercial roofing company based in Gresham, Oregon. They've worked at sites (not to be confused with cities) all over the Portland area since starting in June, but mainly have been working on a school in Salem (technically the town is Keizer) for the past month. They should be wrapping things up down there shortly, and then they'll be on to the next job. Ryan will continue roofing with his crew until school starts the last week of August, and then he hopes to go back to Sherwin-Williams a couple of days a week during the school year. I just have to say that this roofing job has been such a blessing!!!

Speaking of school, I can't believe it's nearly time for Ryan to start another school year. He's so incredibly excited to get his classes going, and even told me the other day that he wishes they'd already started. I'm trying a little harder to hold on to the lazy days of summer, where we can come and go without having to check his class schedule or basketball schedule. Ah well, I guess I just have to remember that when we get to the end of this school year it will be wedding time!!!

Which brings me to...

Today we filled out our application for married student housing for the 2009-2010 school year! We've decided it will be more cost-effective to live on campus, and it will give me an opportunity to get more involved in the community at Multnomah. They really encourage community among the married students, so I think that will help me to not feel so isolated when Ryan is busy with classes and studying!!!

We're taking care of the application now so we can get on the waiting list for apartments that open up on campus after this school year. I think we're first on the list (as of last Thursday no one else had turned in their application), so here's hoping we get first dibs!!! One more thing to check off the list! CHECK!

On Sunday morning, we met my family for the early (9am) service at our church, Crossroads Community Church. Our senior pastor, Bill Ritchie, has been undergoing proton radiation therapy for prostate cancer in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida since June (he returns in a couple of weeks!). We've been incredibly blessed to have heard Luis Palau, among others speak while Pastor Bill is on his self-proclaimed "radiation vacation". Please pray for Pastor Bill and his wife Betty!!!

This Sunday we heard William P. Young speak. He's a local man who authored a book called The Shack. If you haven't read it, you must. Let's just say, he set out to write this work of fiction for his children and his family only. He never intended to get it published, nor did he intend to be a well-known author!! God had other plans!!! What he shared on Sunday was incredible and it helped me to better understand where the book came from. It's fictional and yet it's so strongly influenced by his personal history. A definite must-read! You can find it on or Barnes & Noble.

The afternoon was spent with my mom, dad, sister, brother, sister-in-law and the doggies (Oscar is Blake and Vanessa's dog; Chloe is mom and dad's dog). We met out at Lacamas Lake in Camas, Washington around 2pm-ish... (they arrived at 2; we arrived at "ish")! The guys had fun throwing the football, and playing frisbee golf (they made up their own course as they went), and we girls enjoyed chatting in the sun. Oscar, ever the mischievous doggy-kid, had loads of fun checking out all of the new smells, and even took the opportunity to check out some not-so-pleasant smells when nobody was looking. Enough said, right?!! : ) Chloe was most interested in the good food (as always) being eaten, but definitely enjoyed hanging out with her family!!!

Before we headed home, we took a stroll down to the boat launch to check out the lake. It was small and beautiful (not sure I'd want to swim in it!), and we had fun reminiscing about taking Grandma & Grandpa Pitts' boat out on Flathead Lake in Montana.

We capped off our day up at Mom & Dad's house with napping, snacking, chatting, and a round of one of our favorite games, Quiddler. (sp?) Just in case you're wondering... I won. ; )

Ryan and I had to venture up north to Battle Ground earlier this evening so I could retrieve my keys from my sister at work. (I left them up at Mom & Dad's yesterday.) We don't make it that far north very often as it's a little out of the way, so we decided to go do a little exploring at Lewisville Park, which happens to be a short two miles north of BG.

Now, I've only been down to this particular park a couple of times in the 13 years (yep, we moved out here from Colorado 13 years ago at the end of this month) that we've lived here, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I remembered a large pavilion-type area (of which we found many), and nice grassy areas to play volleyball! We discovered basketball courts, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, swings/slides/merry-go-rounds, and we even saw a baseball backstop from afar. To top it off, the park sits right on the banks of the Lewis River, which moves along slowly enough that many "float" the river to escape the heat! I've never done it, but I've heard it's fun!!! We also enjoyed the walking trails that meander through this large park, and think we might hang out there again! Who knows, we may even hold some of the pre-wedding events down there!!!

Well, that about catches you up... I just want you to know how much your emails have meant to us, and I intend to reply to each and every single one of them. There are many, so if you haven't heard back from me yet, I promise you will!!!

P.S. If you haven't already done so, you can subscribe to our blog at the bottom of this page. You'll be notified when I put up a new post!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Off to the "Planning" races...

No pictures to post this time, but figured I should probably write about our weekend.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we're getting married in May. Eeek! It seems so far away...which feels pretty frowny face, if you ask me. On the other hand, it gives me plenty of time to get things done, right?!! NOT SO!!

Ryan starts back to school in about 5 weeks. Which means he also starts basketball, homework, studying, small amounts of work, and the list goes on. This all equals unbridled bits of BUSYNESS for my fiance until the second week of May when he'll be done with the school year. Granted there are definitely a number of things I can get done without him, but he wants to be and I want him to be as involved in the planning as possible.

So, we decided that we would get a few wedding things done early. Over the course of the weekend, we spent ridiculous amounts of time registering at a couple different stores in our area. I wasn't sure how difficult it would be for us to pick colors that we both like, but it turns out we make a pretty good team and we're quite pleased with the decor of each room. All in all, registering was a much bigger task than I had anticipated, but we are mostly done, all thanks to the persistence of Ryan. So, we can check that off the list. CHECK!

We're still trying to decide where to have the wedding and reception. I think we might try and get those details nailed down towards the end of the week. Just one more thing to check off the list...

Well, it's Monday and I have a few things unrelated to the wedding to get done. Signing off for now!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A New Blog/The Proposal

Well, here it is nearly a week after Ryan proposed, and I still haven't posted or emailed pictures out to everyone. So, I figured it might be more fun to create a blog for our family and friends to view. We'll try to keep it updated on a fairly regular basis, but I make no guarantees. I'm totally excited to share our engagement story...

Now, to preface this story, I should tell you that I've been bugging Ryan about a certain piece of jewelry (i.e. engagement ring) for awhile now. For some reason he refused to tell me when he was going to ask, but he really had me believing it was going to be any day now. And then last Friday and Saturday (the 11th and 12th) he had me convinced that he hadn't even bought the ring yet. He said he was going to ask me someday, but not yet. To say I was a bit down in the mouth about the whole deal wouldn't be too far from the truth.

That's okay because I was looking forward to celebrating my birthday with my family on Sunday. We had decided not to celebrate on the day (July 10th for those that don't know) because of everybody's work schedules. So, when Sunday came around I was ready to party. After church on Sunday, Ryan and I headed up to my parent's house, where we were soon joined by Blake, Vanessa, and my nephew Oscar. We ate pizza and salad on the deck, and then capped it off with watermelon (provided by my best friend and her husband, who joined us later on). It was so nice to sit out on the deck chatting and relaxing in the sun!!!

I can't recall exactly, but I think my dad was the one who suggested that we go down to see the creek that runs along my parent's property. Unbeknownst to me, Ryan had also pre-arranged for Blake to mention this when they were down in the basement playing pool earlier in the afternoon. Everybody was all for it, so on go the shoes (flips for those of us who insist on wearing them) and down the hill we go.

It's a short little jaunt, and we were soon heading back up to the house. My dad, Ryan and I were bring up the caboose, and I remember hearing my dad say he didn't need to be in the back. That did strike me as an odd thing to say, but I didn't really think a thing about it.

Ryan then put his arm around me and said he wanted to see if he could hear the creek from where we were standing. Okay, no problem. He's hugging me, telling me that he loves me so much, over and over again. I can hear that his breathing sounds a little erratic, like he's nervous. Hmmm, what is going on??!!! Then he wants to sit down on a log that I'm sure has been there for a long time, but I've never noticed a single time in the years my parent's have lived there. Okay. So we turn around to sit down... and then...

....We heard a rustle in the bushes and turned around to discover, of all things, a photog taking our picture. Now, I'm no celebrity, so you can imagine it was quite strange to have our picture taken from the bushes. Don't worry it was just my new sister-in-law, Vanessa. I think a little nervous laughter ensued from Ryan and I.

We've just had our picture taken, and Ryan is telling me how much he loves me. (Back to the sitting down part of the story.) He asks me to sit with him on the log on the trail leading down to the creek. The log was dirty (of course) and covered with moss, so I decided to sit down on his lap instead. That's when we both looked up the hill and saw that everyone watching us. Hmmm, this might have been my very first solid clue that something was amiss.

Again, he insists that I sit on the log. Okay, I can do that, no problem. But I wanted to sit on the other side of him, so I could lean against him since we were on a hill. When I stood up and turned around to see where I was sitting, I see Ryan reaching into the bushes behind the log. This was my second clue that something was amiss. I think I even said, "No way!" because I completely thought he was joking around.

So I finally sat down and looked up to find that Ryan has dropped to one knee in front of me. I might have even said, "No way!" again because I still didn't believe it. And then he opens up a little box to reveal a beautiful engagement ring. To which I said, "Seriously?!!!" He told me he loved me, and then asked if I would marry him.

He slipped the ring on my finger, and to my surprise it was a perfect fit!!!

And then I realized I hadn't said yes yet!!! So, in a word: YES!!!!

I love this man so much!!!

I still couldn't believe it!!!

Finally emerging from the woods!! It was so great to have my family and best friend with her husband Tim there to witness such a special moment!! It was quite apparent that they all were in on it!

The Future Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Huisman!!!

Can you tell how happy we are??

My mom, dad, and brother in the background. My best friend and her husband Tim celebrating with us. I think I was telling Ryan I had no idea. Again.

Probably telling mom that I had no idea!! Beth and Vanessa were counting by now.

With Blake, Vanessa and Oscar! Dad and Ryan look quite pleased!!!

The ring. Kinda hard to see, but it's incredible!

So Happy!!!!

Finally a picture with my sister!!! I think she was the one behind the camera the whole time!!!

What a great 28th birthday I had!!!

Can somebody tell me what you wish for, when you've already gotten your wish before you wished??

So, there you have it. We're engaged and planning a wedding for May 30, 2009. More pictures to follow!!!